(by Felipe Albuquerque)
The German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) hosted, from April 12th to April 18th, the PRIMO Method Workshop on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The workshop was part of a series of training activities promoted by the PRIMO program and offered an encompassing overview on QCA as an important tool for the study of regional powers and international order.
During the five-day workshop, PhD students and post-docs from the GIGA joined ESRs part of the PRIMO network. They participated in discussions and learned how QCA can offer an alternative to conventional statistical methods, being suitable for small-, medium-, and large-N studies. Several lectures and practical exercises focused on how QCA can be combined with other methods and extended to produce mixed research methodologies.
At the GIGA facilities, by the Binnenalster of Hamburg, QCA experts from several institutions delivered five interactive master classes. Students’ individual projects were discussed and they received in-depth guidance on how to apply QCA methodology to the study of regions and regional powers.
The workshop comprised theoretical and practical lectures, some of them involving the use of the software R in combination with the QCA package. Presentations were conducted by a group of experienced lecturers: Prof. Dr. Fritz Sager and Dr. Eva Thomann (both from the University of Berne), Prof. Ingo Rohlfing (University of Bremen), Dr. Babetter Never (GIGA), Dr. Alrik Thiem (University of Geneva), and Mr. Kim Sass Mikkelsen (Aarhus University).
Throughout the workshop, participants partake in discussions on complex causality, QCA as a technique and as an approach, so as on the most common variants of QCA, such as crisp-set QCA and fuzzy-set QCA. Furthermore, presenters made considerations on the choice of case studies and on the inter-relation between QCA and other methodologies. Finally, lecturers outlined notions on the writing of functions and the creating of datasets and truth tables on the software R.
Personally, the workshop proved to be of utmost interest, since it provided broad knowledge on QCA as a research tool. Also, the encounter at the GIGA offered me the opportunity to talk about my research project with other students, post-docs and lecturers, which ended up being extremely helpful.