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WP Series » WP Series 2008

Rohwer, Götz. 2008. "Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Discussion of Interpretations". COMPASSS WP Series 2008-54. Published online 6 November 2008.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Rohwer2008.pdf.
NB: Published in European Sociological Review, see bibliography

Abstract: This paper (which is part of an ongoing project that investigates possibilities to apply statistical (or more general: formal) notions and methods to narrative data) tries to understand an approach proposed by Charles C. Ragin: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA).

Lee, Seungyoon Sophia. 2008. "A Critique of the Fuzzy-Set Methods in Comparative Social Policy. A Critical Introduction and Review of the Applications of Fuzzy-Set Methods". COMPASSS WP Series 2008-53. Published online 21 August 2008.
Available from: http:\\www.compasss.org\wpseries\Lee2008.pdf.

Abstract: This article critiques the Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Analysis (fs/QCA) methodology by examining its applicability in three studies in the field of comparative social policy. In each of these three test cases, I focus on the validity of Fuzzy-Set's claimed function - its ability to combine theoretic discourse and evidence analysis. All three studies investigate welfare state reform in the late twentieth century and apply fs/QCA: (1) "Welfare Reform in the Nordic Countries in the 1990s: Using Fuzzy-Set Theory to Assess Conformity to the Ideal Types", (2) "States of Welfare or States of Workfare? Welfare State Restructuring in the 16 Capitalist Democracies, 1985-2002", and (3) "The Diversity and Causality of Welfare State Reforms Explored with Fuzzy-Sets." This article begins by discussing the ontology and epistemology of comparative social policy. The Fuzzy-Set logic and set theoretic nature of social science theory is then discussed to align ontology with Fuzzy-Set methodology. Next, a more detailed introduction of Fuzzy-Set methods (fs/QCA) is followed. This study suggests that fs/QCA is a unique and useful method for comparative social policy. It advances quantitative comparative analysis by in interpreting attributes as a configuration. By applying Fuzzy-Set logic and the principle of calibration, it advances qualitative analysis by permitting theoretically-informed concepts to the quantified.


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