The 10 first editions (2013-2022) of International QCA Workshops and the upcoming 11th edition, December 12-14, 2023

Background and concept 

The International QCA Workshops constitute the world-leading event around innovations in the field of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), also labelled as ‘Set Theoretic Methods’ (STMs) and ‘Configurational Comparative Methods’ (CCMs). Participants to these Workshops, converging from around the globe, stem from multiple social scientific disciplines, including interdisciplinary fields and health-related research. 

The first edition of the event (2013) took the form of the first International QCA Expert Workshop, hosting nearly 30 QCA developers and application specialists from all around the world. It was designed as platform for QCA experts across all academic fields to meet, discuss recent topics and work-in-progress innovations (conceptual, methodological and applied), and exchange ideas. By 2015, amidst growing interest by diverse other researchers, a second, adjacent but separate workshop was added: the Paper Development Workshop (PDW), in which researchers applying QCA get feedback from experts on their work-in-progress pieces. 

Over the years, the International QCA Workshops have hosted many important controversial methodological debates, witnessed the rise and fall of software packages, and saw early drafts of papers that eventually got published in top disciplinary, interdisciplinary and methodological journals. The Workshops have also played a major role in structuring the QCA community via bringing together scholars from several epistemic sub-communities. They have grown in size, with ca. 100 participants at each edition. 

The first 10 editions, from 2013 to 2022 were hosted by the prestigious ETH (Zurich). In 2022, a common decision was made to start rotating the event from 2023 onwards. Colleagues from Belgium, joined by a core group of other Europe-based colleagues, decided to join forces and to propose Antwerp as host of the 11th International QCA Workshops, so that this world-best event continues to contribute to QCA-related innovation(s). The event will be physically hosted by the Antwerp Management School (AMS), under an AMS-UCLouvain joint academic coordination via Profs. Bart Cambré (AMS/University of Antwerp) and Benoît Rihoux (UCLouvain). 

The over-arching theme of the 11th International QCA Workshops is: ongoing innovations (conceptual, methodological, applied) in the field of QCA.  

As in previous editions, via its Expert Workshop component, the event hosts two sets of innovation-in-progress presentations and discussion: (1) a few core presentations around a common topic, typically by a few colleagues who have just published a major contribution, e.g. a milestone monograph or an agenda-setting article. This year we have chosen as common topic: “QCA in mixed- and multimethod research designs: recent advances and challenges”, with presentations by two scholars who just published respective major monographs; (2) diverse other presentations on work-in-progress innovations, via a bottom-up call among experts. 

Via its Paper Development Workshop (PDW) component, this event also enables intermediate-level users to receive feedback from scholars developing these ongoing innovations – and to potentially exploit some of these innovations to consolidate and enrich their work-in progress empirical applications, so that they can submit stronger articles to journals. 

We expect all participants to actively participate in the program. We specifically seek for diversity, among researchers with diverse academic backgrounds, different geographical locations, and different stages of their research. 

Two main components – and one common preoccupation 

On the one hand, the Paper Development Workshop (PDW) aims to provide a sounding board for a diverse set of QCA users (mostly PhD researchers, but also some postdocs, tenure-track and tenured scholars) so that they can consolidate their work-in-progress. Participants submit an abstract and then a full draft paper, and expert feedback is organized in parallel roundtables gathering 3-4 users and at least 2 QCA experts. The whole setting is very informal and geared towards the improvement and consolidation of the work-in-progress pieces. A “best PDW paper award” is also delivered.  On the other hand, the Expert Workshop aims to bring together QCA developers/experts from diverse disciplines and with different ranges of expertise, and engaged in ‘frontier innovation’ work: theoretical (concept development) and methodological (development of software, application procedures and research designs). Each one of them presents a work-in-progress piece and gets feedback from peer experts. The presentations are clustered in successive plenary sessions around core topics, dependent on the proposals submitted. The concrete objective is to get sharp feedback (including criticism) from fellow experts and to thereby enable the production of more robust concrete outputs that will eventually be exploitable by QCA users – e.g. new software commands, new designs, new (parts of) QCA protocols, etc., as well as cutting-edge methodological articles as deliverables. A common preoccupation of the 11th International QCA Workshops is to cross-fertilize between generations of scholars, between disciplines, and between types of expertise – with QCA development and application as smallest common denominator. This makes it a unique event.