ekomex: Introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) using R


Course Structure

  • Mornings: 90’ of prerecorded lectures, quizzes, and other learning materials for independent consumption
  • 13.30-14.30h: Office hour / independent work (reading, exercises)
  • 15.30-17.00h: Live online session (group exercises, R lab, Q&A)

This virtual main course, designed using an innovative pedagogical combination of asynchronous and synchronous online elements, introduces you to the nuts and bolts of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). QCA is an innovative set-theoretic technique that allows for comparisons of small, intermediate or large numbers of cases in order to identify necessary and / or sufficient conditions for an outcome. We will use real-world data to replicate a published study, work with examples from the participants’ own research projects, and introduce you to performing QCA with the freely available R software.

Teaching sessions include:

  • Foundations of QCA and causal complexity
  • Set-theoretic methodology: Set calibration, set relations, and parameters of fit
  • Analyses of necessity and sufficiency
  • Limited empirical diversity and solution types
  • Interpretation and presentation of results, potential pitfalls

Intended Learning Outcomes
At the end of the week, you will:

  • Be able to design your research using Qualitative Comparative Analysis
  • Understand the logic and technical underpinnings of Qualitative Comparative Analysis
  • Be able to independently perform a crisp-set or fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis using the R software environment
  • Be aware of some potential pitfalls of Qualitative Comparative Analysis, and ways of addressing them
  • Be familiar with some seminal texts about Qualitative Comparative Analysis, covering both classics and recent innovations.

Core Readings
Oana, I.E., Schneider, C.Q. and E. Thomann. 2021, forthcoming. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) Using R: A Beginner’s Guide. Cambridge University Press.
Ragin, C.C. (1987/2014). The comparative method: Moving beyond qualitative and quantitative strategies. Univ of California Press.
Schneider, C.Q. and C. Wagemann (2012). Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences. A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Thomann, E. (2019). Customized implementation of European Union food safety policy: United in diversity? Palgrave Macmillan, International Series on Public Policy.

Bildungszeit (can be claimed by employees in Baden-Württemberg) 
Anforderungen des Bildungszeitgesetzes Baden-Württemberg sind erfüllt
Course Management 
430 EUR / Early bird 390 EUR
ECTS Credits 
Contact for Questions 
14.03.2022 13:30 to 17:00
15.03.2022 13:30 to 17:00
16.03.2022 13:30 to 17:00
17.03.2022 13:30 to 17:00
18.03.2022 13:30 to 17:00
The course does not require specific knowledge. Basic knowledge of comparative research design is assumed, such as what is a case, what is data, what is a variable. Participants should bring their own laptops — sockets will be provided. It is recommended that participants of this course also participate in the virtual introduction to R course.