Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an Approach

This chapter, written by Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Gisèle De Meur, Benoît Rihoux and Charles C. Ragin, provides guidance Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an approach. It uses detailed examples to outline the general principles of QCA and some of the common features of it as an approach.


"After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Locate QCA as an approach and grasp its key epistemological foundations
  • Understand how and why QCA is “case oriented” and how one should use QCA to engage in a dialogue between cases and theories
  • Understand the specific conception of causality conveyed in QCA— multiple conjunctural causation—and its practical consequences
  • Reflect on the usefulness of QCA to reach a certain level of generalization beyond the observed cases
  • Grasp key common features of QCA techniques in terms of formalization, replication, transparency, and different types of uses
  • Become accustomed to some key technical terms and use the appropriate, QCA-specific terminology."


Berg-Schlosser, D.; De Meur, G.; Rihoux, B.; and Ragin, C. C. (2008). Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an Approach. Retrieved from: http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/23236_Chapter_1.pdf

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