Quality & Quantity

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 3475–3487 | Cite as

Contextual analyses with QCA-methods

  • Thomas Denk
  • Sarah Lehtinen


Contextual analyses are essential in comparative research, as they investigate the importance of contextual conditions for causal relationships. During the last decades, an increasing number of comparative studies have also focused on how contextual conditions affect causal relationships. At the same time, new comparative methods have been developed based on set-theoretical logics. Two of the most prominent methods are csQCA and fsQCA, which are used in comparative studies with increasing frequency. However, the conventional design for contextual analysis is still based on quantitative methods and the use of interaction-factors. This article discusses why the use of interaction-factors is not suitable together with QCA-methods. Instead of the conventional design, the article presents an alternative design for contextual analyses with QCA-methods grounded on subgroup-design. Based on one recently-developed methodology comparative multilevel analysis (CMA), some guidelines for performing contextual analyses with two set-theoretical methods (csQCA and fsQCA) are presented. As illustrated with examples, the combination of CMA and QCA provides opportunities to use QCA for contextual analysis.


Contextual analysis QCA Comparative multilevel analysis Fuzzy-set Interaction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceÅbo Akademi UniversityÅboFinland

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