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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Cooper, B., Glaesser, J. & Thomson, S. (2014). Schneider and Wagemann's proposed Enhanced Standard Analysis for Ragin's Qualitative Comparative Analysis: Some unresolved problems and some suggestions for addressing them. COMPASSS Working Paper 2014-77. COMPASSS (COMPArative Methods for Systematic cross-caSe analySis) 22.

Author(s) from Durham


Ragin's (2008) Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) provides a way of undertaking case-based configurational analysis, focusing on necessary and sufficient conditions. QCA is increasingly used to undertake systematic set-theoretic analyses of small qualitative datasets and, occasionally, to analyse survey datasets. Ragin has discussed the problems caused by the "limited diversity" characteristic of social scientific data, and demonstrated how counterfactual analysis can alleviate these. The Standard Analysis module of his fsQCA software (Ragin 2008) incorporates this counterfactual reasoning approach. Schneider and Wagemann (2012, 2013) argue that there are problems with Ragin's approach and propose an Enhanced Standard Analysis. They focus on the ways in which, during a QCA, necessary conditions can become "hidden" during the analysis of "truth tables" characterised by limited diversity. Our paper, having introduced the necessary background, argues that their proposed solutions introduce new problems, some of a logical kind, and must be treated with care.

School of Education