Realists and Idealists in QCA

TitleRealists and Idealists in QCA
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsSchneider, C. Q.
Journal titlePolitical Analysis

The sole purpose of the enhanced standard analysis (ESA) is to prevent so-called untenable assumptions in Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). One source of such assumptions can be statements of necessity. QCA realists, the majority of QCA researchers, have elaborated a set of criteria for meaningful claims of necessity: empirical consistency, empirical relevance, and conceptual meaningfulness. I show that once Thiem’s (2017) data mining approach to detecting supersets is constrained by adhering to those standards, no CONSOL effect of Schneider and Wagemann’s ESA exists. QCA idealists, challenging most of QCA realists’ conventions, argue that separate searches for necessary conditions are futile because the most parsimonious solution formula reveals the minimally necessary disjunction of minimally sufficient conjunctions. Engaging with this perspective, I address several unresolved empirical and theoretical issues that seem to prevent the QCA idealist position from becoming mainstream.

DOIDOI: 10.1017/pan.2017.45
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Department of Political Science
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