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WP Series » WP Series 2016

Cooper, Barry and Judith Glaesser. 2016. "The set theoretic analysis of probabilistic regularities with fsQCA, QCApro and CNA: Exploring possible implications for current 'best practice.'" COMPASSS WP Series 2016-85. Published online 1 July 2016.
Available from: http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/CooperGlaesser2016.pdf.

Abstract: Lieberson (1997a,b) and Goldthorpe (2007, 2016), both eminent critics of QCA, argue that social life is characterised in part by probabilistic processes. Both claim that QCA is ill- equipped to respond to this aspect of social reality (Goldthorpe, 2007, 2016, Lieberson, 1991, 2001). In fact, Ragin, in his earlier work (e.g. 1987), does employ probabilistic language to describe differences in outcome by configuration and, later (2000), explicitly discusses the role of randomness in the processes generating outcomes. Notwithstanding this background, there has been little attention paid to the consequences of such generative randomness – as opposed to measurement and sampling error – for the practices of QCA and related set theoretic techniques such as CNA. In this exploratory paper we discuss some of these consequences.


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