Analyzing relationships of necessity not just in kind but also in degree: Complementing fsQCA with NCA

Barbara Vis*, Jan Dul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Analyzing relationships of necessity is important for both scholarly and applied research questions in the social sciences. An often-used technique for identifying such relationships—fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA)—has limited ability to make the most out of the data used. The set-theoretical technique fsQCA makes statements in kind (e.g., “a condition or configuration is necessary or not for an outcome”), thereby ignoring the variation in degree. We propose to apply a recently developed technique for identifying relationships of necessity that can make both statements in kind and in degree, thus making full use of variation in the data: Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA). With its ability to also make statements in degree (“a specific level of a condition is necessary or not for a specific level of the outcome”), NCA can complement the in kind analysis of necessity with fsQCA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-899
Number of pages28
JournalSociological Methods and Research
Volume47
Issue number4
Early online date3 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • calculus
  • fsQCA
  • NCA
  • necessary relationships
  • set theory

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