Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application

Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown University Press, 2021, Publisher’s Website) is a comprehensive guide to the method of QCA and its successful empirical application. As QCA becomes increasingly popular in the social sciences, this book provides step-by-step guidance on how to turn a research project into a QCA study, and how to interpret and present analytical findings in publications. Following an ideal-typical research cycle, the book’s ten chapters cover the methodological basis and analytical routine of QCA, as well as matters of research design, causation and causal complexity, QCA variants, and an up-to-date account of the method’s reception in the social sciences. A comprehensive glossary helps to clarify the meaning of frequently used terms. The book is complemented by an accessible R Manual to enable new users to implement the analytical steps with their own data and to practice on sample data.



‘A well-written, lucid textbook dealing with all the essentials that one needs to do a QCA analysis. Just the right amount of technical details to get the basic ideas across but easily understandable to those interested in learning QCA or brushing up on recent developments. A user-friendly R manual accompanies the book, allowing one to quickly start doing analyses’
Gary Goertz, University of Notre Dame, USA

‘Patrick Mello offers a thorough but approachable introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). He grounds his presentation of the approach in a discussion of the QCA research cycle, offering important analytic insights for novices and experts alike. Mello also includes ‘behind-the-scaffolding’ infoboxes where authors of published QCA studies comment on their analytic strategies’
Charles C. Ragin, University of California, Irvine, USA

‘A diverse set of empirical illustrations, a clear presentation of QCA as a research approach, and a sharp but yet accessible hands-on presentation of QCA protocols from A to Z: this textbook is a great companion for anyone seriously engaging with QCA’
Benoît Rihoux, University of Louvain, Belgium

‘Deftly navigating decades of methodological advancement, discussion, and debate, Mello produces a clearly written and well-reasoned guide to understanding QCA and how to conduct it effectively. Researchers from all disciplines will be well served by Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application, which teaches those new to the method how to do it well and provides a comprehensive reference for experienced QCA researchers’
Claude Rubinson, University of Houston-Downtown, USA


Chapter preprints can be accessed here (versions after peer review/before copyediting).

R Manual

The QCA textbook is complemented by an online R Manual. This will be regularly updated (current version: July 2021).