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  • Apr 2019: Presentation at 14th ESA Conference, 20-23 August 2019, Manchester, UK

    Our paper proposal titled "A Phantom Menace: Random Data, Model Specification and Causal Inference in Qualitative Comparative Analysis" has been accepted for presentation at the 14th General Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA), to be held 20-23 August 2019 in Manchester, UK. We demonstrate in this paper that fears of inferential breakdown in QCA as a result of "random data" are unfounded. More details on this project can be found here.

  • Feb 2019: Paper proposal accepted for 9th General Conference of EPSA, 20-22 June 2019, Belfast, N.Ireland

    Our paper proposal titled "A Phantom Menace: Random Data, Model Specification and Causal Inference in Qualitative Comparative Analysis" has been accepted for presentation at the 9th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA), to be held 20-22 June 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We demonstrate in this paper that fears of inferential breakdown in QCA as a result of "random data" are unfounded. More details on this project can be found here.

  • Jan 2019: Advanced QCA Workshop at University of Luxembourg

    On 6 February, I will teach a one-day workshop on advanced Qualitative Comparative Analysis at the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Luxembourg. It will be shown, for example, why the vast majority of past QCA studies have run the risk of failing to find the underlying causal model and how to solve this problem, why the so-called "conservative solution" is everything but conservative, what to do when data are beset by model ambiguities, and how to perform sensitivity tests. The detailed programme of the workshop can be found here.

  • Dec 2018: Workshop article published in Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development 8(4)

    Empirical research methods provide the necessary means to extract relevant information from data. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), one such method, is currently making first inroads into the development and planning (D&P) community. QCA is well-suited for building empirically founded theories emphasizing causal complexity, but current use of this method in D&P research is marked by applications whose results misrepresent the empirical evidence marshalled to support them. This method workshop article shows how the use of QCA can be improved, which should in turn lead to more solid, evidence-based policy recommendations for development interventions. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Dec 2018: Three-Country-Conference, 14-16 Feb 2019, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

    Between 14 and 16 February 2019, ETH Zurich will host the Three-Country-Conference, a joint conference organized by the Swiss, the German and the Austrian Political Science Associations. Together with Kai-Uwe Schnapp from the University of Hamburg, we have put together two exciting panels on the replication crisis in political science. In addition, we will have a Round Table with the three editors of the respective political science country flagship journals and Andreas Diekmann from ETH Zurich. Lea Sgier will moderate the discussion. See the programme of the conference for more details.

  • Dec 2018: Article on military burden sharing published in Defence and Peace Economics 29(7)

    Military burden sharing has been a subject of repeated debates. In this connection, the fact that some European Union (EU) member states have carried disproportionate shares of the burden of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations is a puzzle that remains unaccounted for. We address this gap by analyzing determinants of contribution levels to CSDP operations. Employing a multi-method design that combines insights from collection action theory with those from integrated theories of burden sharing, we find that EU countries contribute in positive disproportion with their capabilities when they have a strong peacekeeping tradition and elections are distant. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Oct 2018: Talk at DATATHINK!, 24 October 2018, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland

    On 24 October, I will give a talk titled "Never the twain shall meet? How electrical engineering enriches social data analysis" in the context of DATATHINK! at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The objective of DATATHINK! is to provide PhD students from a variety of disciplines, including architecture, computer science, political science and sociology, with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the production, collection, analysis and sharing of various types of data across different research fields.

  • Oct 2018: Presentation at Social Research Colloquium, 10 October 2018, Lucerne, Switzerland

    On 10 October, my team and I present the first empirical results of our project "Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Social Science Research" at the Social Reseach Colloquium of the Department of Sociology of the University of Lucerne. By reanalyzing hundreds of data sets from management, political science and sociology, we show in this paper how the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering into social-scientific data analysis with the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) has created publication bias on a large scale. The reason is an ill-suited objective function under which QCA's optimization algorithms have been running in QCA software for the last three decades.

  • Sep 2018: QCA Workshop at Queen Mary University of London, School of Business and Management

    On 4 September, I give a workshop at the School of Business and Management of Queen Mary University of London on Qualitative Comparative Analysis, with a focus on the theory of causation behind QCA, its mathematical language of Boolean algebra, its core algorithms, and how these three fit together in analyzing configurational data. Researchers in marketing at the School of Business and Management have been particularly active in applying QCA to their empirical research questions and promoting the method.

  • Jul 2018: Comment on NCA published advance online at Sociological Methods & Research

    Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) has recently been proposed to researchers in business, management, organization, psychology, sociology and even medicine as a new data analysis tool for identifying necessary but insufficient causes of an outcome. In this comment, I demonstrate that NCA is inadequate for performing such inferences. The reason is a mismatch between the method’s purported search target and its actual output. Moreover, I show that, even if its output corresponded to its search target, the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) would always outperform NCA in all relevant respects. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Jul 2018: Presentation at ESA's RN21 Mid-Term Conference, 3-6 October 2018, Cracow, Poland

    My paper proposal titled "Small Act, Huge Effect: Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Social Science Research" has been accepted for presentation at the Mid-Term Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA)'s Research Network 21 "Quantitative Methods", to be held 3-6 October 2018 in Cracow, Poland. I show in this paper that the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering into social-scientific data analysis with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) has created publication bias on a large scale.

  • Apr 2018: Presentation at ECPR's General Conference, 22-25 August 2018, Hamburg, Germany

    My paper proposal titled "Small Act, Huge Effect: Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Political Science Research" has been accepted for presentation at the General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Science Research (ECPR), to be held 22-25 August 2018 in Hamburg, Germany. I show in this paper that the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering into social-scientific data analysis with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in the late 1980s has put users of QCA at high risk of inducing publication bias on a large scale.

  • Apr 2018: Presentation at EAM's VIII European Congress of Methodology, 25-27 July 2018, Jena, Germany

    My paper proposal titled "Small Act, Huge Effect: Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Political Science Research" has been accepted for presentation at the VIII European Congress of Methodology of the European Association of Methodology (EAM), to be held 25-27 July 2018 in Jena, Germany. I show in this paper that the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering into social-scientific data analysis with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in the late 1980s has put users of QCA at high risk of inducing publication bias on a large scale.

  • Mar 2018: Presentation at DVPW's Methods conference, 4-5 May 2018, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    My paper proposal titled "Small Act, Huge Effect: Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Political Science Research" has been accepted for presentation at the Annual Conference of the Empirical Methods section of the German Political Science Association (DVPW), to be held 4-5 May 2018 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. I show in this paper that the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering into social-scientific data analysis with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in the late 1980s has put users of QCA at high risk of inducing publication bias on a large scale.

  • Jan 2018: New R package version 1.1-2 of QCApro released

    The QCApro package provides advanced functionality for performing configurational comparative research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), including crisp-set, multi-value, and fuzzy-set QCA. It also offers elaborate tools for sensitivity diagnostics and methodological evaluations of QCA. The new version 1.1-2 includes some updates to the documentation and offers even finer control for some evaluation functions. The package can be downloaded from the software page on my website, where further important information is also available.

  • Dec 2017: Paper accepted at SVPW's annual conference, 5 - 6 Feb 2018, University of Geneva

    The Swiss Political Science Association will hold its annual conference at the University of Geneva from 5-6 February 2018. I will present a paper titled "Small Act, Huge Effect: Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Political Science Research" (co-authored with Tim Haesebrouck from the University of Ghent) in the Empirical Methods section. In this paper, we demonstrate how the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering into research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in the 1980s has led to considerable publication bias over three decades of research with QCA. Updates on this paper project can be retrieved from my ResearchGate website.

  • Dec 2017: Paper accepted at PSA's Political Methodology conference, 12 Jan 2018, University of Essex

    The Political Methodology section of the UK's Political Studies Association will hold its third annual conference at the University of Essex on the 12th of January 2018. I will present a paper titled "Small Act, Huge Effect: Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Political Science Research" (co-authored with Tim Haesebrouck from the University of Ghent). In this paper, we demonstrate how the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering into research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis in the 1980s has led to considerable publication bias. Updates on this paper project can be retrieved from my ResearchGate website.

  • Oct 2017: Article on model ambiguities in QCA published in Sociological Methods & Research 46(4)

    For many years, social scientists have relied on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) for the purpose of configurational causal modeling. However, we reveal that a severe problem in the application of QCA has gone unnoticed so far: model ambiguities. Mainly due to the uncritical import of an algorithm that is unsuitable for causal modeling, researchers have so far been unaware of this problem. In consequence, there exists an indeterminable risk for practically all QCA studies published in the last quarter-century to have presented findings that their data did not warrant. We identify the source of ambiguities and examine to what extent they affect empirical research. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Sep 2017: QCA tutorial published in American Journal of Evaluation 38(3)

    Configurational research has long been one of the main preoccupations of evaluation scholars and practitioners. In this article, I provide a hands-on tutorial for Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)-currently the most popular configurational comparative method. In drawing on a recent evaluation of patient follow-through effectiveness in Lynch syndrome tumor-screening programs, I explain the search target of QCA, introduce its core concepts, guide readers through the procedural protocol of this method and alert them to mistakes frequently made in QCA's use. An annotated replication file for the QCApro package accompanies this tutorial. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Aug 2017: Paper accepted at SCIQUAL conference, 13 - 14 Sep 2017, Utrecht University

    The SCIQUAL (scientific integrity in qualitative research) conference focuses on different aspects of scientific integrity pertaining to qualitative research methods. Tim Haesebrouck and I present a paper titled "Small Act, Huge Effect: Algorithmic Sources of Publication Bias in Political Science Research". In this paper, we reveal an unnoticed source of publication bias in political science research that has employed the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). By drawing on data from almost 160 QCA studies, we show that the uncritical import of the Quine-McCluskey algorithm from electrical engineering to the social sciences has led to overly unambiguous research findings.

  • May 2017: 5-Day Workshop Seminar at Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, USA, 25-29 September 2017

    From 25-29 September 2017, Michael Baumgartner and I offer an intensive 5-day introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Coincidence Analysis (CNA) at the Regenstrief Institute - an internationally recognized healthcare research organization affiliated with Indiana University's School of Medicine. Participants will be guided through the nuts and bolts of configurational data analysis as well as cutting-edge methodological innovations. Moreover, we demonstrate how to make the most of current software for QCA and CNA. Individual consultation sessions will be offered to help participants with the methodological aspects of their research projects. Course and registration details can be found here.

  • May 2017: Methodological evaluation of QCA published advance online at Sociological Methods & Research

    To date, hundreds of researchers have employed the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) for the purpose of causal inference. In a series of simulation studies, several authors have recently questioned the correctness of QCA in this connection. These previous attempts at evaluating QCA, however, have been defective. We lay out a set of formal criteria for an adequate evaluation before implementing a battery of inverse-search trials to test how QCA performs in different recovery contexts. Our results indicate that QCA is correct when generating the parsimonious solution type, but incorrect in conjunction with the conservative and the intermediate solution type. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Apr 2017: Presentation at 13th ESA General Conference, 29 Aug - 1 Sep 2017, Athens, Greece

    My paper proposal titled "Limited empirical diversity and the incorrectness of Qualitative Comparative Analysis" has been accepted for presentation at the 13th General Conference of the European Sociological Association, to be held 29 Aug - 1 Sep 2017 in Athens, Greece. I show in this paper that two of QCA's three search strategies supplement empirical data with matching artificial data when there is limited empirical diversity. Frequently, however, these artificial data violate the causal structure QCA seeks to uncover, whereby causal fallacies are induced.

  • Mar 2017: Presentation at DVPW's Empirical Methods section conference, 12-13 May 2017, Mainz, Germany

    My paper proposal titled "Limited empirical diversity and the incorrectness of Qualitative Comparative Analysis" has been accepted for presentation at the Annual Conference of the Empirical Methods section of the German Political Science Association (DVPW), to be held 12-13 May 2017 in Mainz, Germany. I show in this paper that two of QCA's three search strategies supplement empirical data with matching artificial data when there is limited empirical diversity. Oftentimes, however, these artificial data violate the causal structure QCA seeks to uncover, whereby causal fallacies are induced.

  • Mar 2017: Award of Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship

    For a project titled "ACCORds: Advancing Configurational Comparative Research Methods", I have been awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship, funded with 1.4 million Swiss Francs, at the University of Lucerne. With this project, I intend to take Configurational Comparative Methods (CCMs), such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Coincidence Analysis, a quantum leap forward. The project aims to enhance the functionality of CCMs, to address epistemological questions, and to develop software that makes ACCORds' advances available to the scientific community.

  • Feb 2017: Paper proposal accepted for 7th General Conference of EPSA, 22-24 June 2017, Milan, Italy

    My paper proposal titled "A Phantom Menace: Random Data, Model Specification and Causal Inference in Qualitative Comparative Analysis" has been accepted for presentation at the 7th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA), to be held 22-24 June 2017 in Milan, Italy. I demonstrate in this paper that benchmarks for preventing QCA from drawing incorrect inferences, which have often been invoked as a standard of good practice for model specification in applied research, are not merely ill-conceived but they even induce QCA to commit causal fallacies.

  • Feb 2017: Cyber Seminar at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    Together with Michael Baumgartner from the University of Geneva, I will give a 1-hour cyber seminar titled "Configurational Data Analysis with QCA and CNA for Health Researchers" at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on 2 March. VA operates one of the largest integrated health care system in the world, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and other facilities. Public health is one of the fastest growing areas with respect to the use of configurational methods. If you would like to attend, simply follow this link.

  • Dec 2016: Presentation at PSA's Political Methodology Conference, University of Oxford

    The Political Methodology section of the UK's Political Studies Association will hold its second annual conference at the University of Oxford on the 13th of January 2017. I will present a paper titled "Often trusted but never (properly) tested: Evaluating Qualitative Comparative Analysis", which is co-authored with Michael Baumgartner from the University of Geneva. Conference details and the full programme can be found here. A previous conference version of our paper to be presented and corresponding presentation slides from the recent 4th QCA Expert Workshop (7-8 December 2016, University of Zurich, Switzerland) can be retrieved from my ResearchGate website.

  • Oct 2016: Article on standards of good practice in QCA published in Political Analysis 24(4)

    The introduction of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) has revolutionized research on necessary conditions. Standards of good practice for QCA have long demanded that the results of tests for necessity constrain QCA's minimization process so as to enhance the quality of parsimonious and intermediate solutions. Schneider and Wagemann's Theory-Guided/Enhanced Standard Analysis (T/ESA) is currently being adopted as the new state-of-the-art in this respect. However, I demonstrate that, once bias in necessity tests is accounted for, T/ESA will produce conservative solutions, and not enhanced parsimonious or intermediate ones. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Sep 2016: Comment on QCA evaluation published in Sociological Methodology 46(1)

    In Sociological Methodology 44(1), Lucas and Szatrowski (2014; abbr. LS) argue that Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) suffers from an in-built confirmation bias, and therefore urge that QCA be abandoned. With this comment, we pursue four related objectives: (1) we explain why correlation-based evaluation designs as used by LS for testing QCA's power of discrimination with respect to causally irrelevant factors are unsuitable; (2) we show how appropriate tests must be constructed; (3) we offer an R function that implements a routine for such tests; (4), we conduct three series of tests, all of whose results indicate that QCA does not suffer from confirmation bias. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Apr 2016: Reply to Munck, Paine and Schneider published in Comparative Political Studies 49(6)

    In this symposium reply to Gerardo Munck, Jack Paine, and Carsten Schneider, we focus on two related problems that unite these authors' pieces, that are of high relevance beyond the current debate, and that we have addressed only indirectly in our original article "Still Lost in Translation! A Correction of Three Misunderstandings Between Configurational Comparativists and Regressional Analysts". The first problem concerns the over-inflation of the Boolean concept of necessity in QCA, the second one ignorance about the formalities of the theory of causation which QCA rests on. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Apr 2016: Article on methods debate published in Comparative Political Studies 49(6)

    Even after two decades, representatives of configurational comparative methods (CCMs) and those of regressional analytic methods (RAMs) continue talking at cross purposes. In this article, we clear up three misunderstandings: a) CCMs and RAMs use the same logic of inference, b) the same hypotheses can be associated with one or the other set of methods, c) multiplicative RAM interactions and CCM conjunctions are based on the same concept of causal complexity. Our objective is to contribute to a more informed debate than has been the case so far. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Jan 2016: New R package for performing and evaluating Qualitative Comparative Analysis

    With numerous fixes and improvements on its predecessor package QCA, the QCApro package provides professional functionality for performing configurational comparative research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), including crisp-set QCA, multi-value QCA, and fuzzy-set QCA. It also offers new features and advanced tools for methodological evaluations of QCA. The package can be downloaded from the software page on my website, where further important information is also available.

  • Jan 2016: Article on sensitivity diagnostics for QCA published in Political Analysis 24(1)

    Sensitivity diagnostics rank high on the current agenda of research into Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), and existing studies in this area rely on the technique of exhaustive enumeration. In this article, we introduce the technique of combinatorial computation for evaluating the interaction effects between two problems afflicting data quality and two discretionary parameters on the stability of QCA solutions. Combinatorial computation challenges a hitherto unstated assumption intrinsic to exhaustive enumeration and is vastly superior in terms of efficiency. For more details, visit the article's website.

  • Jan 2016: Comment on Comparative Multilevel Analysis published in Quality & Quantity 50(1)

    In a recent contribution to Quality & Quantity, Denk and Lehtinen (2014) present Comparative Multilevel Analysis (CMA) as an innovative method whereby the effects of contexts can be studied if combined with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). In contrast, I argue that CMA is not necessary for ascertaining this influence of context. QCA is appreciably more powerful than the authors acknowledge. In repetition of Rohlfing's (2012) verdict on Denk's (2010) earlier version of CMA, I conclude that QCA need not be extended in the direction proposed by Denk and Lehtinen. For more details, visit the article's website.