Qualitative Comparative Analysis – A Rigorous Qualitative Method for Assessing Impact

Ths guide, written by Carrie Baptist and Barbara Befani for Coffey, provides an outline of the use of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and includes a case study of its use in the evaluation of a major programme. The paper also emphasises the requirements for using QCA and details a step by step guide for implementing the process as part of an evaluation. 

Excerpt

"As a comparative method, QCA doesn’t work with a single case – it needs to compare factors at work across a number of cases in order to tease out which factors are most important for a given outcome. However, when done correctly the findings generated using QCA are generalizable: insights from one context or project can be transferred to another. QCA is also a rigorous method in that – when the analysis process is made transparent – it can be replicated by anyone and produce the same findings.

To put it a bit more technically, QCA is potentially strong on both external and internal validity while still being a qualitative method: it works with social concepts, constructs and narratives."

Contents

  • What is Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and what can it do?
  • Testing Theories of Change and engaging with complexity
  • How has it been used to-date?
  • What does QCA require?
  • Limitations of QCA
  • The QCA process: Step by step

Source

Baptist, C., and Befani, B. (2015). Qualitative Comparative Analysis – A Rigorous Qualitative Method for Assessing Impact, Coffey. Retrieved from: http://www.coffey.com/assets/Ingenuity/Qualitative-Comparative-Analysis-June-2015.pdf

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