Configurational Comparative Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Related Techniques

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Benoît Rihoux, Charles C. Ragin
SAGE, 2009 - Social Science - 209 pages

Configurational Comparative Methods paves the way for an innovative approach to empirical scientific work through a strategy that integrates key strengths of both qualitative (case-oriented) and quantitative (variable-oriented) approaches. This first-of-its-kind text is ideally suited for "small-N" or "intermediate-N" research situations, which both mainstream qualitative and quantitative methods find difficult to address. Benoît Rihoux and Charles C. Ragin, along with their contributing authors, offer both a basic, comparative research design overview and a technical and hands-on review of Crisp-Set QCA (csQCA), Multi-Value QCA (mvQCA), and Fuzzy-Set QCA (fsQCA).

Key Features

  • Discusses existing applications in many different fields and disciplines along with state-of-the-art coverage of the strengths and limitations of these techniques
  • Demonstrates further inventive ways of using QCA techniques
  • Provides advice on how to develop a comparative research design (case and variable selection) as well as a specific technique called MSDO/MDSO (most similar, different outcome/most different, same outcome).
  • Shows how to perform the technical operations linked to three specific QCA techniques: csQCA, mvQCA, and fsQCA
  • Includes a glossary, an extensive bibliography, and a detailed list of good practices at every stage of the research process

Intended Audience

A must for any student or researcher who wants to engage in systematic cross-case comparison in the social and behavioral sciences, the book is ideal for use in upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level social science research methods courses.

 

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Contents

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Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Charles C. Ragin spent most of his youth in Texas and the southeastern United States. He attended the University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate and received his BA degree in 1972 at the age of 19. That same year he began graduate work in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his PhD in 1975. From 1975 until 2001, he lived in the Midwest, teaching first at Indiana University and then at Northwestern University. He headed west in 2001, where he spent just over a decade at University of Arizona-Tucson. In 2012, he joined the faculty at the University of California-Irvine, where he is currently the Chancellor's Professor of Sociology. He is best known for developing a methodological alternative to conventional research methods, using formal set-theoretic techniques for comparative research. His many publications address broad issues in politics and society, with topics ranging from the causes of ethnic political mobilization to the shaping of the welfare state in advanced capitalist countries. He has written several books including Intersectional Inequality: Race, Class, Test Scores and Poverty (with Peer Fiss, 2017). Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond (2008) Fuzzy-Set Social Science (2000). His book The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies (1987) won the 1989 Stein Rokkan Prize of the International Social Science Council of UNESCO. In 2014 he received the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award of the American Sociological Association. He is married to Mary Driscoll, and they have two sons, Andrew and Daniel.

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