Microcredential ekomex: Introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)


This 5-day online course introduces Qualitative Comparative Analysis as an approach that enables researchers to model causal complexity by analyzing whether different configurations of conditions are necessary or sufficient for an outcome together with its technical implementation in R.

What Is This Course About?
This 5-day online course introduces Qualitative Comparative Analysis as an approach and a technique, its main assumptions, its standard procedures and operations, and the technical environment (R software and packages) used for its application. QCA enables researchers to model causal complexity by analyzing whether different configurations of conditions are necessary or sufficient for an outcome, based on a formalized comparison of intermediate to large numbers of cases. Throughout the course, emphasis is put on a thorough understanding of the formal logic of set-theoretic methods and QCA, including topics such as Boolean algebra, causal complexity, sets and their calibration, necessity, and sufficiency. The course also discusses the logic and analysis of truth tables and the most important problems that emerge when this analytical tool is used for exploring social science data. Right from the beginning, participants are exposed to performing set-theoretic analyses with the relevant R software packages using data from published applications in the social sciences.

Learning Goals

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the general analytic goals and motivations underlying the use of QCA.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the formal logic underlying QCA, as well as of the notions of sets, causal complexity, necessity, and sufficiency.
  • Be able to perform the main analytic steps involved in doing a QCA (calibration, analysis of necessity, analysis of sufficiency) using the relevant R software packages and social science data.
  • Be able to identify potential pitfalls and problems that might emerge in applied QCA together with ways of avoiding them.
  • Be able to interpret and visualize QCA results.

Assignments for the Course
Daily assignments (not graded) and a final take-home exercise consisting of the replication of a published QCA study.

14:30-17:00h: synchronous elements of the course

Recommended Readings for the Course

  • Oana, Ioana-Elena, Carsten Q. Schneider, and Eva Thomann. 2021. Qualitative Comparative Analysis Using R: A Beginner’s Guide. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Schneider, Carsten Q., and Claudius Wagemann. 2012. Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences: A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ragin, Charles C. 2008. Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Who Are Your Instructors?
Ioana-Elena Oana is a Research Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) focusing on comparative politics, political representation, political behavior, and public opinion formation. She is the main developer of the R package SetMethods for QCA and has extensive experience in teaching QCA using R at various international methods schools and universities (IQMR, ECPR, IPSA-Flacso, etc.). She has co-authered the book ‘Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) using R: A Beginner’s Guide’ (Cambridge University Press, 2021, with Carsten Q. Schneider and Eva Thomann) and A Robustness Test Protocol for Applied QCA: Theory and R Software Application (Sociological Methods & Research, 2021, with Carsten Q. Schneider).
E-mail ioana.oana@eui.eu
Website https://nenaoana.github.io
X @NenaOana

Barbora Valik is a PhD candidate in political science at Central European University, a visiting research fellow at Universidad de los Andes, and a teaching fellow at the Global History Lab at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on armed conflict prevention and resolution, power-sharing, self-determination, secessionism, and civil resistance. Barbora uses QCA and other set-theoretic methods extensively in her own projects. She has previously worked as the teaching assistant for QCA courses at various institutions (ECPR, CEU, CIVICA, komex).
E-mail valik_barbora@phd.ceu.edu
Website: https://dsps.ceu.edu/people/barbora-valik
X @BarboraValik

Bildungszeit (can be claimed by employees in Baden-Württemberg) 
Anforderungen des Bildungszeitgesetzes Baden-Württemberg sind erfüllt
460 EUR / Early bird 390 EUR / Please note: you will gain access to our learning management system Moodle only after having paid your course fee
ECTS Credits 
Contact for Questions 
26.02.2024 (All day)
27.02.2024 (All day)
28.02.2024 (All day)
29.02.2024 (All day)
01.03.2024 (All day)
5 study days
No prior knowledge required other than basic knowledge of empirical research design. For students who are inexperienced in statistical software, it is recommended (but not required) to first attend the short ekomex course “A basic introduction to R for beginners”.