Statistical Evaluation of the Findings of Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Paul R. Yarnold

Optimal Data Analysis, LLC

Qualitative data analysis is a structured observational and clustering methodology which facilitates hypothesis development and variable generation for quantitative research, fruitfully employed in agriculture, anthropology, astronomy, biology, forensic investigation, education, history, marketing, medicine, political science, psychology, sociology, and zoology, to name a handful of diciplines. The method known as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is adept in producing evidence in complex policy problems involving interdependencies among multiple causes. Recent research used QCA to study factors underlying high rates of teenage conceptions in high-risk areas in England. Nine binary attributes reflecting five different “variable constellations” were identified. Variable constellations are putatively associated with areas with teenage conception rates which are narrowing versus not narrowing (the outcome or class variable) with respect to the national average. This article discusses use of UniODA and CTA to ascertain which attributes are statistically reliable predictors of outcome.

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