Short Course: Set-Theoretic Multi-Method Research: Combining QCA and Process Tracing


Set-Theoretic Multi-Method Research: Combining QCA and Process Tracing (QMMR6)

Ingo Rohlfing and Carsten Q. Schneider
Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section, APSA Organized Section 37

2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Set-theoretic multi-method research (MMR) is a new approach combining Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) on the cross-case level with process tracing on the within-case level. In some sense, it is the set-theory based equivalent to Lieberman’s nested analysis linking regression analysis to process tracing. In this short course, we familiarize participants with the principles of set-theoretic MMR and focus on four issues:

  1. We explain what types of single-case studies and comparative case studies are viable based on QCA results and how they are related to the established inventory of cases and comparisons in qualitative research;
  2. What the research goal of each type of feasible case study is;
  3. How to choose the best available cases for process tracing;
  4. What the potential ramifications of process-tracing insights for the QCA results are.

The discussion of fundamentals is blended with the introduction of an R package that assists empirical researchers in implementing rigorous and reproducible multi-method research. We use empirical studies to illustrate the principles of set-theoretic MMR and give interested participants the R script we use in this course. After the course, participants will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to interpret and evaluate published studies and have the basic practical and technical skills to implement their own multi-method analysis using QCA. The topics, structure, and sequence of the short course are as follows:

  1. Fundamentals and foundations of set-theoretic MMR – Set-theoretic affinities between QCA and process tracing
  2. From QCA to process tracing – How process tracing and QCA benefit from each other. – Identifying types of cases based on QCA results – The role of case type for causal inference and model improvement – Using QCA results for informal and formalized case selection of different types of cases – Matching cases for comparative process tracing
  3. Implementation in R – Application of set-theoretic MMR with R package SetMethods

**All Short Courses will take place on Wednesday, August 31 at the APSA 2016 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.