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Qualitative Methods – Designing research with qualitative comparative analysis (QRA)

June 10, 2019 - June 14, 2019

various - see flyer

Qualitative Methods – Designing research with qualitative comparative analysis (QRA)

Upgrade your qualitative method skills

We offer two tailored 5-day (1 week) qualitative methods modules on one of the UK’s most scenic university campuses, close to the lovely beaches of Cornwall. The modules have a practical, hands-on focus on the possibilities and pitfalls of applying a range of comparative qualitative and case study techniques in different research settings. Each module has up to 25 participants and consists of a 3 hour seminar in the morning and a 1 hour lab session in the afternoon each day.

The modules are open to postgraduate research students, PhD students, postdocs, academics, and research-oriented practitioners who engage in social research, across the UK and internationally. Upon completion of a written assignment, each module is credited with an equivalent of 7.5 ECTS points. You can also attend the modules without getting credits if you wish to.

You can sign up for one or both modules. If you have any questions, please contact us at penryn-methods@exeter.ac.uk

Week 2: Designing Research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
When? 10-14 June 2019

What? This module introduces you to the nuts and bolts of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), 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. It is an attractive method for scholars who seek to model causally complex patterns and integrate in-depth case knowledge at all stages of the analysis. We will introduce you to performing QCA with the freely available R software using the user-friendly RStudio environment. QCA: Origin, variants, uses and approaches

  • Set theory and causal complexity
  • Defining, structuring, measuring and calibrating concepts as sets
  • Analyses of necessity and sufficiency
  • Truth tables, limited diversity and counterfactual reasoning
  • Conservative, intermediate and parsimonious solution types
  • Set-theoretic multi-method research
  • Potential pitfalls (skewed data, model ambiguities, robustness, etc.)

Who? The course targets MRes and PhD students, researchers and research-oriented practitioners from the United Kingdom and abroad, in the social sciences and beyond. You should have basic knowledge of comparative empirical research. No prior knowledge of statistical software is required, although it might be an advantage.

Module aims
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 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.

To get the most out of the course, you should reserve about 2 hours per afternoon for directed reading and other small daily assignments which are not graded. In order to obtain credits (15 credits/ 7.5 ECTS), you’ll need to complete an applied QCA analysis of 4000 words, to be submitted by 12 July 2019. Full instructions will be given in the module handbook nearer the time. Please see the detailed module description for more information.

POCM101 module description and indicative reading list


June 10, 2019
June 14, 2019
various - see flyer


University of Exeter


University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, TR10 9FE
TR10 9FE United Kingdom + Google Map