Claudius Wagemann

QCA and Fuzzy Set Analysis. What It Is and What It Is Not

  • Abstract

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Keywords: QCA, Fuzzy Set Analysis, causal complexity, limited diversity, qualitative methods.

The article presents "Qualitative Comparative Analysis" (QCA), introduced in the 1980s and since then further developed by the American social scientist Charles C. Ragin. The QCA methodology is based on set-theoretical relationships, analyzing social science data with regard to sufficient and necessary conditions. Three aspects of causality are particularly emphasized in QCA, namely, equifinality, conjunctural causation, and assymmetric causation. The novelty of QCA consists in the fact that it allows the researcher to take complex causal structures into account. Fuzzy set QCA (fsQCA) enlarges the range of applicability even further. The article finishes with a discussion in how far QCA is really a "qualitative" method and proposes an agenda which issues regarding QCA should be settled in the next future, most importantly, the creation of a "code of good standard".

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