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Conditional hypotheses in comparative social science: mixed-method approaches to middle-sized data analysis
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6613-4242
2011 (English)In: Methodological Innovations Online, ISSN 1748-0612, Vol. 6, no 2, 71-102 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses under which circumstances and how configurational comparative methods (i.e. QCA) and statistical methods can be combined to provide tests for the 'quasi'-sufficiency of any given set of combination of causal conditions. When combined, QCA provides the ability to explore causal substitutability (i.e. multiple paths to a given outcome) and the ways in which many multiple causes interact with one another to produce effects, while the statistical elements can provide robust indications of the probable validity of postulated hypotheses. The potential utility of the mixed-method approach for analyzing political phenomena is demonstrated by applying it to cross-national data regarding party positions on European integration and party-based Euroscepticism in Western Europe. The findings show that oppositional stances to European integration are partly associated with non-governmental ideological fringe parties on both the left and right. The empirical example presented in this paper demonstrates that configurational methods can be successfully combined with statistical methods and supplement the QCA-framework by providing statistical tests of 'almost sufficient' claims. However, combining QCA with statistical methods can sometimes be problematic in middle-sized data analysis, especially as the latter usually cannot handle limited diversity (i.e. insufficient information) in the data and/or overtly complex relationships (i.e. having a large number of conjunctional conditions or interacting variables).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
School of Sociology, Politics and Law, University of Plymouth , 2011. Vol. 6, no 2, 71-102 p.
Keyword [en]
Boolean logit, Euroscepticism, fuzzy sets, mixed-methods, multiplicative interaction models, political parties, quantitative methods, Qualitative Comparative Analysis, QCA
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-47272DOI: 10.4256/mio.2010.0036OAI: diva2:441939
Open AccessAvailable from: 2011-09-19 Created: 2011-09-19 Last updated: 2014-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Hellström, Johan
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Department of Political Science
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