Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POCM101: Designing Research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


QCA: Origin, variants, uses and approaches

Set theory and causal complexity

Defining, structuring, measuring and calibrating concepts as sets

Analyses of necessity and sufficiency

Truth tables, limited diversity and counterfactual reasoning

Conservative, intermediate and parsimonious solution types

Set-theoretic multi-method research

Potential pitfalls (skewed data, model ambiguities, robustness, …)

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities15Class 5 x 3h (lecture and exercises)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities5Lab 5 x 1h (guided applied exercises using software)
Guided Independent Study60Directed readings
Guided Independent Study10Daily assignments: Independent exercises (daily)
Guided Independent Study60Coursework completion - conducting research, analysing data, writing the finished product

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

ELE - 


Website on fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis, by Charles Ragin 

Facebook group “Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets”

COMPASSS-- COMPArative Methods for Systematic cross-caSe analysis network: