Potentials and Pitfalls of Multi-Value QCA: Response to Thiem
Field Methods, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 208-213, 2013
6 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2013 Last revised: 16 Jan 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2013
We appreciate the opportunity to reply to the comment by Thiem (2013) on our article on the potentials and pitfalls of multi-value Qualitative Comparative Analysis (mvQCA) (Vink and van Vliet 2009). Our original article was framed as a reflection on the set-theoretic status of the relatively novel technique of mvQCA, which had been introduced by Cronqvist (2004) to deal with the problem of analyzing multichotomous nominal variables, such as religion or types of welfare states. While recognizing the potential of mvQCA, we were unconvinced by Herrmann and Cronqvist’s (2009) argument that mvQCA would be particularly suitable for ‘‘genuinely middle-sized’’ data sets. Further, we observed with some surprise that insofar as mvQCA had been applied, this has been virtually never done to accommodate the use of multichotomous nominal conditions, as originally foreseen. Most importantly, we argued that in set-theoretic terms, these conditions were different from either crisp-set or fuzzy-set conditions. We observed that mvQCA users had so far applied this new technique in a rather unreflective manner.
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