Political Research Quarterly just accepted the article “Making the Most of Configurational Comparative Analysis: An Assessment of QCA Applications in Comparative Welfare State Research” co-authored with Patrick Emmenegger and Svend Erik Skaaning as part of a symposium on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Here is the abstract:
“The capacity of QCA to align with complex theoretical expectations and configurational relationships is rarely used to the full. To make the most of QCA we emphasize in line with guidelines on best-practice the importance of expressing (complex) theoretical expectations in set-theoretical terms, going back to the cases when interpreting the formal results, and carrying out robustness tests. In this assessment of comparative welfare state research using QCA, however, we find that only half of the studies made complex propositions formulated in set-theoretical terms. Moreover, despite the case-oriented nature of QCA, only few scholars went back to the cases after the formal analysis. Finally, not all studies carried out robustness checks of their findings. We argue that improvements on these issues can increase the quality of QCA applications.”
For a Danish introduction to set-theoretic methods, see Skaaning and Kvist (2010) “Konfigurationelle komparative metoder” in Bøgh Andersen et al (eds.) Metoder i Statskundskab (Hans Reitzel), and in English seminal work by Charles Ragin Fuzzy Set Social Science (Chicago University Press, 2000) and Redesigning Social Inquiry (Chicago University Press, 2008) or the newly published guide by Schneider and Wageman Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 2012).