Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)Methodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

ECTS: 2.5 
Number of sessions: 2
Hours per session: 4
Entry level: Advanced
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • €440,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information


Telephone: +31 (0)10 4082607 (Graduate School).

Session 1
April 12 (Thursday) 2018
Mandeville building (directions) T17-01

Session 2
April 19 (Thursday) 2018
Sanders building (directions) S1-08


Need to analyse causation across cases and not sure how? Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is an alternative to conventional statistical methods. The method can be used in qualitative research to analyse how multiple cases relate to each other. The method is suitable for analyses of a limited number of cases, but it can also be applied to large samples.

QCA, introduced by Charles Ragin in the 1980s and developed further since, is gaining prominence in various social sciences, including political science, economics and business, management, pedagogical sciences, health sciences, sociology, and environmental sciences.

Aims and working method

There are two sessions consisting of workshops with mini-lectures and practical training directly applied to participant work, specifically during the second course session. Participants will be informed well in advance by email on how to prepare for the sessions.

Suitable research

The method is particularly suitable for those doing small and medium-N comparative case study research but can also be applied to large-N. This course is designed for those with no or limited experience of QCA.

Session descriptions

Session 1:
Background of QCA

Day one will provide the theoretical and methodological background to QCA:

  • QCA vis à vis other methods
  • historical development of QCA
  • perspective on causation in QCA
  • designing your research and the different research phases in QCA
  • calibration and truth tables

    Session 2:
    Doing QCA
    Day two will focus on the practicalities of doing QCA:

    •  further (practical) details on analysis in QCA 
    •  instruction on how to use QCA software
    •  concrete exercise in analysis
    •  interpreting and reporting formal output
    • NOTE: Bring your own laptop

    About the instructor

    Dr. Fadi Hirzalla is the Graduate School senior lecturer and methodology consultant. He specialises in quantitative and qualitative methods and methodology, next to his substantive interests in citizenship and new media, with a particular focus on intercultural relations and young people. Prior to joining the Graduate School, he worked at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University.