Georgetown University Press has just published my QCA textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application. 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, and QCA variants. A comprehensive glossary helps to clarify frequently used terms. The book is complemented by an accessible online R manual to help new users practice QCA’s analytical steps on sample data and then implement those steps with their own findings. The book further contains boxes by other authors from across the social sciences, who are reflecting on their own QCA applications and their use of specific variants of the method. For more information, reviews, and online material, please click the button below.
Am 30. September und 1. Oktober 2021 habe ich am Fachbereich Interkulturelle Wirtschaftskommunikation (IWK) der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena einen virtuellen Workshop zu Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) gehalten. Der Workshop diente der allgemeinen Einführung in die QCA-Methodik sowie der konkreten Anwendung von QCA im Rahmen laufender Forschungsprojekte des IWK.
Herzlichen Dank an das ganze IWK-Team für den konstruktiven Workshop und den anregenden Austausch zu sozialwissenschaftlichen Methoden!
From August 23-27, 2021 I taught at the 25th Summer School in Social Science Methods, organized by the Swiss Foundation for Social Science (FORS) and the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). The summer school is hosted at USI in beautiful Lugano, Switzerland. This was the third time that I offered a one-week intensive course on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the Swiss Summer School in Lugano (after 2016 and 2019, respectively). The course was offered in hybrid format, with in-presence and online participants attending the course. The course was based on my QCA textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application, published with Georgetown University Press (2021, Publisher’s Website). Many thanks to all course participants for an intensive and fun week with QCA! And thanks to School Coordinator Janice Casarella and the School Directors Eugène Horber, Patrick Gagliardini, and Benedetto Lepori for the excellent and smooth organization!
The Routledge volume Researching Non-State Actors in International Security: Theory and Practice, edited by Andreas Kruck and Andrea Schneiker, has now been turned into a fully open access book. The book contains chapters on “interpreting texts” (Part I), “establishing causal claims” (Part II), and “doing fieldwork” (Part III). I contributed a chapter on “Qualitative Comparative Analysis and the Study of Non-State Actors” to Part II of the volume. The book’s substantive chapters are complemented by “discussion chapters” where commentators draw together and reflect upon the respective areas of research. Many thanks to the editors and other contributors for their efforts turning this into an open access book! I am grateful for the open access funding approved by the University of Erfurt to contribute to this aim.
Am 21. und 22. Juli 2021 habe ich an der Medizinischen Fakultät der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg einen Workshop zu Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) gehalten. Der Workshop richtete sich gezielt auf die Anwendung von QCA im Rahmen eines laufenden Forschungsprojekts am Institut für Gesundheits- und Pflegewissenschaft der Uni Halle. Herzlichen Dank an das ganze Forschungsteam für die Einladung nach Halle und für den konstruktiven und anregenden Präsenz-Workshop!
Am 24. Juni 2021 habe ich an der Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences der Universität Bamberg einen virtuellen Gastvortrag zum Thema “The Unintended Consequences of UN Sanctions” gehalten. Der Vortrag basierte auf einem gemeinsamen Paper mit Dr. Katharina Meissner (Universität Wien) zu nichtintendierten negativen Auswirkungen von Sanktionsregimen auf Basis von Daten des Targeted Sanctions Consortium (TSC). Vielen Dank an Dr. Sofia Pagliarin und das BAGSS-Team für die Einladung und an alle Teilnehmenden für die sehr engagierte und konstruktive Diskussion im Anschluß an den Vortrag!
Qualitative Comparative Analysis: Research Design and Application
On April 29-30, I taught a virtual workshop for 13 faculty members of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who are working on health-related applications of Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The intensive course followed the structure of my QCA textbook, which will be published with Georgetown University Press later this year (information about the book can be found here). Dating its foundation to 1740 with Benjamin Franklin as its first president, the University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Perelman School of Medicine is frequently ranked among the leading medical schools in the world. Thanks to everyone involved for turning this into a highly constructive two-day workshop experience!
Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
On January 14-15, I jointly co-taught a workshop on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the University of Lausanne, together with Benoît Rihoux of UC Louvain. Course participants were PhD students of the CUSO network of Western Switzerland (Universities of Lausanne, Fribourg, Genève, and Neuchâtel). Many thanks to the people at CUSO for the invitation and organization of the event and to the participants for a constructive workshop!
Qualitative Comparative Analysis at the 25th Summer School in Social Science Methods, 2021
The workshop program was announced for the 25th Summer School in Social Science Methods, organized by the Swiss Foundation for Social Science Research (FORS) and the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). The school is hosted at USI in beautiful Lugano, Switzerland. For the third time, I am offering a one-week intensive course on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the Swiss Summer School. The course runs from August 23-27, 2021. The course is based on my QCA textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown University Press). Course registration will open at the end of January/early February 2021. The opening will be announced through the summer school’s newsletter (sign-up on the registration page).
This workshop gives a thorough introduction to the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), with an emphasis on research design and practical application. Since its inception (Ragin 1987), QCA has gained recognition among social scientists as a case-based research method that is ideally suited to capture causal complexity. This essentially describes a situation where an outcome results from multiple pathways and different combinations of conditions. Moreover, QCA entails a rigorous and systematic comparison of selected cases and their configurations through Boolean logic and a software-based analytical protocol.
Throughout this workshop, participants will be introduced to the building blocks of QCA, while the course structure follows an ideal-typical research process. The introduction opens with empirical illustrations to show how and for what purposes QCA is being used, before summarizing the method’s key characteristics. This is followed by sessions on causation, causal complexity, and research design, to provide a foundation for thinking about empirical applications. The ensuing sessions engage with the use of QCA as an analytical approach, starting with set theory and concepts like necessary and sufficient conditions, Boolean algebra, truth tables, and fuzzy sets. In calibrating sets, we look into approaches to transform empirical raw data into crisp and fuzzy sets. Next, the course examines various measures of fit that help in evaluating QCA results. The session on set-theoretic analysis puts all of the elements together and shows how empirical data is analyzed and interpreted with QCA. Finally, the workshop closes with sessions on advanced topics, which can be tailored based on participants’ background and research interests. Potential topics include multi-method research design, QCA variants, addressing critiques, and recent developments. The workshop sessions are complemented by illustrations and exercises, using the R Software environment and relevant R Packages.
Open Access Article Published in EJIS
The February 2020 issue (5:1) of the European Journal of International Security (Cambridge University Press) features the article “Paths towards Coalition Defection: Democracies and Withdrawal from the Iraq War“. The study examines democratic war involvement in Iraq across 51 leaders from 29 countries. The article is the first QCA study that covers the entire period of coalition operations in Iraq, from 2003 until 2010, across all democratic governments that were involved in the multinational coalition. Among other findings, the article challenges some previous studies’ results on the effects of leadership turnover and electoral incentives (here and here). The set-theoretic analysis documents causal heterogeneity, where multiple paths lead towards coalition defection and leadership turnover only brought about the outcome of coalition withdrawal when combined with specific other conditions. For electoral incentives, contrary to expectations derived from prior studies, it could not be shown that upcoming elections were associated with coalition defection. Finally, the article documents the importance of casualties and prior commitment as factors that had previously been neglected. Replication data is hosted a Harvard Dataverse (R script, data, supplement).
Abstract: Despite widespread public opposition to the Iraq War, numerous democracies joined the US-led multinational force. However, while some stayed until the end of coalition operations, and several increased their deployments over time, others left unilaterally. How to explain this variation?
While some studies suggest that democratic defection from security commitments is primarily motivated by electoral incentives or leadership change, scholars have not reached a consensus on this issue. To account for the complex interplay between causal factors, this article develops an integrative theoretical framework, using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) on original data on the Iraq War involvement of 51 leaders from 29 democracies.
The findings document the existence of multiple paths towards coalition defection. Among others, the results show that: (1) leadership change led to early withdrawal only when combined with leftist partisanship and the absence of upcoming elections; (2) casualties and coalition commitment played a larger role than previously assumed; and (3) coalition defection often occurred under the same leaders who had made the initial decision to deploy to Iraq, and who did not face elections when they made their withdrawal announcements.
Mello, Patrick A. (2020) Paths towards Coalition Defection: Democracies and Withdrawal from the Iraq War, European Journal of International Security 5 (1): 45-76 (https://doi.org/10.1017/eis.2019.10)