Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Configurational Comparative Methods
Configurational comparative methods (CCMs) designate both a methodological approach and a set of specific techniques enabling systematic cross-case comparison while also taking into account within-case complexity. They have been developed, initially, for small- and intermediate- N research designs in the social sciences (Benoît Rihoux & Charles Ragin, 2009). The whole CCMs enterprise was initiated by Ragin (1987), who outlined a “synthetic strategy” that could bridge case-oriented and variable-oriented approaches to social phenomena. He also developed a first technique, QCA (qualitative comparative analysis—now labeled crisp-set QCA [csQCA]), and applied it to macro-level cases such as countries. Below, the basic assumptions, specific techniques, and applications, and recent developments are discussed. The whole ambition behind CCMs is, on the one hand, to make qualitative case analysis more systematic and to offer case-oriented researchers some tools that enable them to systematically compare thick, complex cases. On the other hand, it strives to offer an ...