Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

Claudius Wagemann

in Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780198719571
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191788666 | DOI:
Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

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In this chapter, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is introduced as a research design which can be a fruitful tool for the (comparative) analysis of social movements. QCA is a case-study methodology that enables researchers to compare mid-sized numbers of cases in view of sufficiency and necessity set relations. It is especially suitable for the assessment of “if… then” hypotheses. It takes into account complex causal structures, referring to equifinality, conjunctural causation, and asymmetrical causality. With the fuzzy set version, it is also possible to work with those concepts which are dichotomous in nature, but which can then be more finely grained; these kinds of concepts are very typical for the social sciences in general and for social movement research in particular. The contribution also gives some examples for applied QCAs in social movement research.

Keywords: Qualitative Comparative Analysis; QCA; fuzzy sets; sufficient and necessary conditions; complex causality

Chapter.  10811 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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