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CECAN Short Course: Getting to Grips with Wicked Issues Using Exploratory Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

Guildford, 21 Feb 2017, 9.30am
Dave Byrne

Tuesday 21st February 2017, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

Tutor: Professor Dave Byrne

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course you should be able to…

  • Understand the value of systematic comparison as a way of exploring multiple and complex causation.
  • Be able to start using binary QCA as a mode of exploration of appropriate information/data.
  • Know the character of the various forms of QCA and be able to assess their value to you in confronting problems in causation and evaluation.

Intended audience: Anyone who confronts ‘wicked issues’ in their work so that includes policy makers, practitioners, consultants and academic researchers who engage with messy and complex reality.

What level of prior knowledge of subject required: None in technical terms but an understanding of the implications of the term ‘wicked issues’ would help – look it up on Wikipedia. See also the Wikipedia entry on Problem Structuring Methods because Exploratory QCA can be used as a basis for that kind of approach.

Tutor Biography:

David’s interest in complexity goes back to the middle 1990s when he first encountered the ideas through reading popular science. Gill Callaghan, then his Ph.D. student, introduced him to Reed and Harvey’s work attempting a synthesis of complexity approaches and critical realism. His own research work in urban and health fields had been very much informed by the realist position and Reed and Harvey’s work really enabled him to both write the book Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences published by Routledge in 1998 and to engage in a programme of empirical research informed by the complexity frame of reference. Since then he has published widely in relation to methods and methodology and done empirical research in relation to social exclusion, health (with Blackman), and urban issues. David is particularly interested in how to develop a new form of applied social science which draws on the complexity frame of reference, the theme which underpins his book on Applying Social Science, and is being developed in practice, particularly in relation to action research projects addressing AIDS and in other related areas. His most recent book, written with Gill Callaghan, is Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences: the state of the art. He has a particular interest in the application of case based methods for understanding multiple and complex causation and edited (with Charles Ragin) The Sage Handbook of Case Based Methods. Currently David is Emeritus Professor of Applied Social Sciences, School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University.

How to Book – Registration and fee information is available on the University of Surrey online store. If you have any questions please email the CECAN Centre Managers on cecan@surrey.ac.uk

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