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Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) course at GSERM St. Gallen, Switzerland, June 5-9 2023

  • 1.  Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) course at GSERM St. Gallen, Switzerland, June 5-9 2023

    Posted 02-27-2023 14:12

    I will again be teaching a five day QCA course as part of the Global School in Empirical Research Methods (GSERM). It will take place at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, from June 5-9, 2023. Information on the course can be found here. The application deadline is April 30, 2023. 

    The goal of this workshop is to provide a ground-up introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and fuzzy sets. Participants will get intensive instruction and hands-on experience with the fsQCA software package and on completion should be prepared to design and execute research projects using the set-analytic approach.


    Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) is a research approach consisting of both an analytical technique and a conceptual perspective for researchers interested in studying configurational phenomena. QCA is particularly appropriate for the analysis of causally complex phenomena marked by multiple, conjunctural causation where multiple causes combine to bring about outcomes in complex ways.

    QCA was developed in the 1980s by Charles Ragin, a sociologist and political scientist, as an alternative comparative approach that lies midway between the primarily qualitative, case-oriented approach and the primarily quantitative, variable-oriented approach, with the goal of bridging both by combining their advantages and tackling situations where causality is complex and conjunctural. QCA uses Boolean algebra for the analysis of set relations and allows researchers to formally analyze patterns of necessity and sufficiency regarding outcomes of interest. Since its inception, QCA has developed into a broad set of techniques that share their set-analytic nature and include both descriptive and inferential techniques.

    Many researchers have drawn on QCA because it offers a means to systematically analyze data sets with only few observations. In fact, QCA was originally applied to small-n situations of between 10 and 50 cases; situations where there are frequently too many cases to pursue a classical qualitative approach but too few cases for conventional statistical analysis. However, more recently, researchers have also applied QCA to medium- and large-n situations marked by hundreds of thousands of cases. While these applications require some changes to how QCA is applied, they retain many advantages for analyzing situations that are configurational in nature and marked by causal complexity.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. 

    All the best,

    Peer Fiss


    Peer C. Fiss

    Jill and Frank Fertitta Chair in Business Administration

    Professor of Management & Organization, and Sociology

    USC-Marshall School of Business

    Hoffman Hall 431 (mailing address)

    Hoffman Hall 521 (physical address)

    701 Exposition Blvd

    Los Angeles, CA 90089-1424, USA




    Peer Fiss
    University of Southern California
    Los Angeles CA
    (213) 821-1471