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Still Lost in Translation! A Correction of Three Misunderstandings Between Configurational Comparativists and Regressional Analysts:

Published on May 1, 2016in Comparative Political Studies
· DOI :10.1177/0010414014565892
Alrik Thiem14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Geneva),
Michael Baumgartner14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Geneva),
Damien Bol7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UdeM: Université de Montréal)
Sources
Abstract
Even after a quarter-century of debate in political science and sociology, representatives of configurational comparative methods (CCMs) and those of regressional analytic methods (RAMs) continue t...
  • References (62)
  • Citations (49)
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References62
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#1Alrik Thiem (University of Geneva)H-Index: 14
Multi-value Qualitative Comparative Analysis (mvQCA) is a variant of QCA that continues to exist under the shadow of crisp and fuzzy-set QCA. The lack of support for parameters of fit and intermediate solutions has contributed to this undeserved status. This article introduces two innovations that put mvQCA on a par with its two sister variants. First, consistency and coverage as the two most important parameters of fit are generalized. Second, the concepts of easy and difficult counterfactuals ...
13 CitationsSource
Crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis, fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA), and multi-value Qualitative Comparative Analysis (mvQCA) have emerged as distinct variants of QCA, with the latter still being regarded as a technique of doubtful set-theoretic status. Textbooks on configurational comparative methods have emphasized differences rather than commonalities between these variants. This article has two consecutive objectives, both of which focus on commonalities. First, bu...
22 CitationsSource
#1Axel Marx (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)H-Index: 15
#2Benoît Rihoux (UCL: Université catholique de Louvain)H-Index: 21
Last. Charles C. Ragin (UCI: University of California, Irvine)H-Index: 3
view all 3 authors...
A quarter century ago, in 1987, Charles C. Ragin published The Comparative Method, introducing a new method to the social sciences called Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). QCA is a comparative case-oriented research approach and collection of techniques based on set theory and Boolean algebra, which aims to combine some of the strengths of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Since its launch in 1987, QCA has been applied extensively in the social sciences. This review essay firs...
61 CitationsSource
#1Alrik Thiem (ETH Zurich)H-Index: 14
In a recent contribution to this journal, Vink and van Vliet seek to raise researchers’ awareness of the potentials and pitfalls of multi-value Qualitative Comparative Analysis (MvQCA). The authors are unconvinced by the technique’s distinctness from the more established crisp-set QCA (csQCA) and fuzzy-set QCA (fsQCA) variants and question its added value to configurational comparative methodology on five points. This article demonstrates why none of them challenges mvQCA. Two points do not rela...
28 CitationsSource
#1Johan Bo Davidsson (Lund University)H-Index: 3
#2Patrick Emmenegger (HSG: University of St. Gallen)H-Index: 18
European labour markets are often described as rigid with comparatively high levels of job protection that do not allow for the flexible adjustment of employment to economic fluctuations. This interpretation overlooks important sources of flexibility, however. Research has shown that recent labour market policy reforms have allowed for the creation of two-tier labour markets consisting of insiders in standard employment relationships and outsiders in non-standard employment. This outcome has typ...
35 CitationsSource
#1Simon Hug (University of Geneva)H-Index: 24
An increasing number of analyses in various subfields of political science employ boolean algebra as proposed in Ragin's (1987) qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). This type of analysis is perfectly justifiable if the goal is to test deterministic hypotheses under the assumption of error-free measures of the employed variables. My contention is, however, that only in a very few research areas are our theories sufficiently advanced to yield deterministic hypotheses. Also, given the nature of ...
53 CitationsSource
#1Michael Baumgartner (University of Osnabrück)H-Index: 14
The majority of the currently flourishing theories of actual (token-level) causation are located in a broadly counterfactual framework that draws on structural equations. In order to account for cases of symmetric overdeterminiation and preemption, these theories resort to rather intricate analytical tools, most of all, to what Hitchcock (J Philos 98:273–299, 2001) has labeled explicitly nonforetracking counterfactuals. This paper introduces a regularity theoretic approach to actual causation th...
15 CitationsSource
#1Peer C. FissH-Index: 21
#2Dmitry SharapovH-Index: 3
Last. Lasse CronqvistH-Index: 6
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AbstractContrasting insights that can be gained from large-N QCA and econometric analysis, we outline two novel ways to integrate both modes of inquiry. The first introduces QCA solutions into a regression model, while the second draws on recent work in lattice theory to integrate a QCA approach with a regression framework. These approaches allow researchers to test QCA solutions for robustness, address concerns regarding possible omitted variables, establish effect sizes, and test whether causa...
59 Citations
#1Henry E. Brady (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 29
In A Tale of Two Cultures, Gary Goertz and James Mahoney (2012) seek to describe two distinct social science cultures: “quantitative” and “qualitative.” Cultural differences such as these often provide an excuse for groups to retreat to separate sides, to wallow in in-group solidarity, and to prepare for a long and stubborn dispute instead of seeking compromise and agreement. Goertz and Mahoney profess no desire to start a civil war in the social sciences. They are, they tell us, merely anthropo...
6 CitationsSource
#1Gary Goertz (ND: University of Notre Dame)H-Index: 27
#2James Mahoney (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 41
14 CitationsSource
Cited By49
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#1Sofie Jacobs (University of Antwerp)H-Index: 2
#2Bart Cambré (University of Antwerp)H-Index: 7
Abstract This study unravels different paths to success for independent designers and focuses on the balance between the artistic and economic considerations they have. Therefore, a comparative case study is presented for 48 designers looking into both business growth and perceived success. The configurational analysis explores the combination of different variables regarding success: exploration (artistic consideration), exploitation (economic consideration), job rate and tenure. The applicatio...
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#1Alrik Thiem (University of Lucerne)H-Index: 1
#2Lusine Mkrtchyan (University of Lucerne)
Last. David Jesse SanchezH-Index: 12
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Both the natural and the social sciences are currently facing a deep "reproducibility crisis". Two important factors in this crisis have been the selective reporting of results and methodological problems. In this article, we examine a fusion of these two factors. More specifically, we demonstrate that the uncritical import of Boolean optimization algorithms from electrical engineering into some areas of the social sciences in the late 1980s has induced algorithmic bias on a considerable scale o...
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#1Eva Thomann (University of Exeter)H-Index: 11
#2Martino Maggetti (UNIL: University of Lausanne)H-Index: 15
Recent years have witnessed a host of innovations for conducting research with qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). Concurrently, important issues surrounding its uses have been highlighted. In this article, we seek to help users design QCA studies. We argue that establishing inference with QCA involves three intertwined design components: first, clarifying the question of external validity; second, ensuring internal validity; and third, explicitly adopting a specific mode of reasoning. We id...
19 CitationsSource
#1Susan E. Hickman (IUPUI: Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis)H-Index: 21
#2Edward J. Miech (IU: Indiana University)H-Index: 10
Last. Kathleen T. Unroe (IU: Indiana University)H-Index: 13
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: To identify the implementation barriers, facilitators, and conditions associated with successful outcomes from a clinical demonstration project to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations of long-stay nursing facility residents in 19 Indiana nursing homes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical quality, Improving Symptoms-Transforming Institutional Care (OPTIMISTIC) is a multicomponent intervention that includes enhanced geria...
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Applying qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to large Ns relaxes researchers’ case-based knowledge. This is problematic because causality in QCA is inferred from a dialogue between empirical, th...
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#1Michael Baumgartner (University of Geneva)H-Index: 14
#2Alrik Thiem (University of Geneva)H-Index: 14
To date, hundreds of researchers have employed the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) for the purpose of causal inference. In a recent series of simulation studies, however, several authors have questioned the correctness of QCA in this connection. Some prominent representatives of the method have replied in turn that simulations with artificial data are unsuited for assessing QCA. We take issue with either position in this impasse. On the one hand, we argue that data-driven evalua...
24 CitationsSource
#1Jorge Heredia (University of the Pacific (Peru))
#1Jorge Díaz-Heredia (University of the Pacific (Peru))H-Index: 8
Last. Walter Heredia Heredia (University of the Pacific (Peru))
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#1Mathieu Blondeel (UGent: Ghent University)H-Index: 1
#2Thijs Van de Graaf (UGent: Ghent University)H-Index: 16
Last. Tim Haesebrouck (UGent: Ghent University)H-Index: 4
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Abstract In 2017, the UK and Canada launched the ‘Powering Past Coal Alliance’ (PPCA), a coalition of governments, organisations and businesses seeking to establish a phase-out of coal for electricity generation by 2050 at the latest. Yet, most of the countries that have signed the charter do not burn coal in large quantities. Some do not even burn coal at all. This raises an important question: Why do countries join such an Alliance? We advance four hypotheses that revolve around material costs...
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Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is a relatively young method of causal inference that continues to diffuse across the social sciences. However, recent methodological research has found the c...
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