9 August 2014
Set-Theoretic Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Related Approaches
This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with an emphasis on Qualitative Comparative Analysis and fuzzy sets. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught during the ECPR Winter School in Vienna. The course starts out by familiarising students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytic tool is used for analysing social science data. All analytic issues will be introduced based on crisp sets and later expanded to fuzzy sets. Right from the beginning, the course will also teach the use of the available software packages (predominantly R and fsQCA). When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will further engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Real-life published applications are used throughout the course. If available, participants are also encouraged to bring their own data. Some basic empirical comparative training is useful to get more out of the course, but this is no prerequisite in a strict sense.
Students are not required to have any prior knowledge of QCA or the respective computer programs (Tosmana, fsQCA, R). However, they are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the basic principles of the method in advance by reading the recommended literature.
To obtain the full five ECTS credits available, participants must complete their course, which includes a project assignment and an exam, on 9 August 2014. Participants who do not sit the exam can still obtain three ECTS credits by completing the project assignment. Participants who sit the exam but choose not to complete the project assignment can obtain two ECTS credits.
EUR 925: ECPR member
EUR 1250: ECPR non-member