"Here you can find Information about upcoming training, calls for papers, blog posts, and other interesting news!"


Qualitative Methods Summer Training, Penryn, June 2019

posted Feb 5, 2019, 7:45 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Feb 5, 2019, 7:50 AM ]

Comparative Case Study Design

3-7 June 2019
Designing Research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
10-14 June 2019

Upgrade your qualitative method skills!
We offer two tailored 5-day (1 week) qualitative methods modules on one of the UK’s most scenic university campuses, close to the lovely beaches of Cornwall. The modules have a practical, hands-on focus on the possibilities and pitfalls of applying a range of comparative qualitative and case study techniques in different research settings. Each module has up to 25 participants and consists of a 3 hour seminar in the morning and a 1 hour lab session in the afternoon each day. You can sign up for one or both modules.

The modules are open to postgraduate research students, PhD students, postdocs, academics, and research-oriented practitioners who engage in social research, across the UK and internationally. Upon completion of a written assignment, each module is credited with an equivalent of 7.5 ECTS points. You can also attend the modules without getting credits if you wish to.

Talk about customization at the London Public Policy Seminars, 11.12.2018

posted Nov 29, 2018, 12:50 AM by Eva Thomann

I look forward to giving a talk at the London Public Policy Seminars, which provide a forum for academic exchange in public policy across the greater London area.

How effective is the EU regulatory state? Linking legal compliance, customization, and practical implementation
When: 6pm, 11 December 2018
Where: 32L.B.07, LSE

European Union (EU) policies change as they are being customised throughout the implementation chain. How do these changes affect the practical implementation of EU policies? While better regulation approaches point to the danger of red tape when deviating from EU law, theories of policy implementation see a role of discretion in decentralised problem-solving. This study analyses how customisation affects the practical compliance with EU antidiscrimination, environmental, and justice and home affairs directives in 27 member states. Results suggest that general customisation levels neither exert a significant direct nor conditional effect on practical compliance. However, higher levels of customised density negatively affect practical compliance. We also find a partly sector-specific, direct positive effect of customised restrictiveness on practical compliance. Thus, while customised density can indeed reinforce problems of red tape, customised restrictiveness can contribute to problem-solving. The crucial distinction is that between changes in the quantity or the quality of regulation.

CfP: Problem-Solving and Learning in Multilevel Governance

posted Nov 29, 2018, 12:37 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Nov 29, 2018, 12:42 AM ]

Call for papers for the 4th International Conference on Public Policy, 26th-28th June 2019 - MONTREAL
Panel chairs:
Eva Thomann and Claire Dunlop, Department of Politics, University of Exeter
Deadline for proposals: 30.1.2019

Multilevel governance is the result of a process in which decision makers shifted competencies away from the nation-state in order to deal with pressing policy challenges that exceed the reach of the central government. As such, multilevel governance is a result of globalization and modernization, based on the assumption of an improved problem-solving capacity. Problem-solving can both be seen as a decision-making mode/process, and as a result of these processes. Trein et al. (2019) define problem-solving as a process through which the policymakers in charge make policies so as to deal with problems that are perceived as important for society by organized groups and/or by policymakers themselves, through the cooperative production of a policy output that is expected to be collectively beneficial in making a contribution to solve the policy problem at stake.
The goal of this panel is to collect contributions that provide theoretical and empirical insights on problem-solving in multilevel governance.
Recent years have witnessed important theoretical, conceptual and empirical innovations in how we think of problem-solving in multilevel governance. Scholars have moved beyond traditional approaches to thinking of multilevel governance mainly in structural terms and through a command-and-control perspective, as these often cannot explain the distinct workings of multilevel governance in the absence of a clear “shadow of hierarchy”. Moreover, there is a move beyond the assumption that policy adoption is the decisive stage of problem-solving. Instead, there is emphasis on the processes of implementation, evaluation, and problem definition, the patterns and underlying mechanisms of differentiation as well convergence. Scholars increasingly emphasize mechanisms of learning (Dunlop et al. 2018) and experimentalist governance (Sabel and Zeiltin 2010) and link such mechanisms with patterns of policy differentiation (e.g., customization), success, and failure (Dunlop 2017; Thomannn 2019).This panel gathers theoretical, conceptual, and empirical contributions by both junior and senior scholars that look at the processes and outcomes of problem-solving and learning in multilevel governance systems in terms of both convergence and differentiation. We particularly invite contributions that either comprehensively review or systematize the state of the art, apply theoretical, conceptual or methodological innovations to empirical settings, connect methods with theories, and/or contribute to innovation themselves.
View the full panel description here

CfP: Case-Oriented and Set - Theoretic Approaches to Comparative Policy Analysis

posted Nov 29, 2018, 12:33 AM by Eva Thomann

Call for papers for the 4th International Conference on Public Policy, 26th-28th June 2019 - MONTREAL

Panel chairs:

Eva Thomann, Department of Politics, University of Exeter

Valerie Pattyn, Institute of Public Administration, Leiden University

Stefan Verweij, Department of Spatial Planning and Environment, University of Groningen
Deadline for proposals: 30.1.2019

Recent years have seen an impressive proliferation of set-theoretic and case-oriented methods in comparative policy analysis in general (see e.g. Rihoux et al. 2011; Thomann 2019), and in policy implementation and evaluation research in particular (Gerrits and Verweij 2018; Pattyn et al. 2017). Case-oriented and set-theoretic approaches to comparative policy analysis, including but not limited to methods such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), Coincidence Analysis (CNA, explanatory typologies, and comparative process tracing, are designed to address the challenges of contemporary policy analysis. Situated within a “critical realist” paradigm of social research (Gerrits and Verweij 2013), they model different aspects of causal complexity, such as the prevalence of configurations of different factors leading to policy outputs or outcomes, equifinality (multiple policy strategies or instruments resulting in the same outcome), contextual contingencies, and causal asymmetry. Moreover, they can be applied within a variety of small-N or large-N research approaches to evaluate as well as generate theories through a combination of systematic comparison with targeted in-depth case studies (Thomann and Maggetti 2017).
This panel gathers theoretical, conceptual, and empirical contributions by both junior and senior scholars that deal with case-oriented and set-theoretic approaches and illustrate their potential and limitations to contribute to the theory and practice of policy analysis. We particularly invite contributions that either comprehensively review or systematize the state of the art, apply methodological innovations to empirical settings, connect methods with theories, and/or contribute to methodological innovation themselves. Papers should engage in a critical reflection of methodological aspects and their connection with the theory and/or practice of policy analysis in general, or implementation and evaluation in particular. Abstracts should include a clear puzzle, research question, outline of the approach, research design, and main contribution of the proposed paper. Preference is given to abstracts that demonstrate an understanding of recent methodological developments.

View the full panel description here

Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) deadline 16.11.2018

posted Nov 12, 2018, 1:47 AM by Eva Thomann

The Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) at the Maxwell school, Syracuse, still accepts open pool applications until November 16, 2018:

Amongst the “menu” of cutting-edge methods courses is a 2-day module on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) taught by Carsten Q. Schneider and myself.

Two courses on case-oriented methodology and QCA at ECPR winter school

posted Oct 17, 2018, 3:50 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Oct 17, 2018, 3:57 AM ]

I am offering two courses at the ECPR winter school of methods and techniques.

The early bird registration is still open until  31.10.2018, don't miss it!

WA102 -  Foundations of case-oriented and set-theoretic thinking and methodology


This course introduces to the logic and basics of case-oriented and set-theoretic methods. We start by reflecting on different types of research questions, evidence and observations, causal effects and causal mechanisms. The course then covers the basics of set theory, sets, set calibration, and logical operations. We will discuss different perspectives on causation (probabilistic versus deterministic, symmetric versus asymmetric, causal complexity, context) and the logic of necessary and sufficient conditions. We will apply these notions by looking at different ways of defining, structuring, and operationalizing social science concepts.                                                                                       


WD103 - Introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)


This course introduces to crisp set and fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and its analysis in R. We will look at the origins, analytic aims, and variants of QCA and deal in depth with techniques and practices of set calibration. The nuts and bolts the QCA technique, from parameters of fit to all steps of the analyses of necessity and sufficiency, are illustrated based on an empirical example study which we replicate in class. We will then cover the presentation and interpretation of QCA results, as well as ways to deal with limited diversity and other potential pitfalls. Hands-on exercises and daily lab sessions provide opportunities for practice and engagement.

New book: Customized implementation of European Union food safety policy: United in diversity?

posted Aug 29, 2018, 3:34 AM by Eva Thomann

This newly published book provides a new, evidence-based perspective on “gold-plating” and better regulation in Europe for scholars, students and

practitioners of policy implementation, European integration and Europeanization alike:


Thomann, E. 2019. Customized Implementation of European Union Food Safety Policy: United in Diversity? Palgrave, International Series of Public Policy.


This book sheds light on the patterns, causes and consequences of the “customization” of European Union (EU) policies. Even if they comply, member states interpret and adapt EU rules in very diverse ways when putting them into practice. We can think of and measure this diversity as a phenomenon of regulatory change along the implementation chain. The book explores what explains customization, and what it means for providing policy solutions to shared problems. It studies the implementation of EU food safety policies in Austria, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Switzerland using innovative set-theoretic techniques. After looking at the role of prominent compliance arguments and the “logics of action” in customization, the study assesses how differing degrees of customization affect the success of the implementation.


You can get 20% off the printed book or eBook when ordering the book via and using the following token:

PM18TWENTY3 . The offer is valid Sep 1, 2018 – Sep 29, 2018.

Panels "United in Diversity? Implementation and Performance in Multi-Level Governance", ECPR general Conference in Hamburg, 25.8.2018

posted Aug 10, 2018, 4:30 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Aug 10, 2018, 4:38 AM ]

Asya Zhelyazkova and I hope to welcome you at one of our two panels on Implementation and Performance in Multi-Level Governance at the ECPR general conference in Hamburg!

When: Saturday 25.8.2018, 09:00 - 12:40h
Where: Building: VMP 8 Floor: Ground Room: VMP8-Lecture Hall 

In multi-level governance structures such as the European Union (EU), decentralized implementation inevitably leads to a diversity of policy solutions in practice. However, our knowledge about this diversity is limited empirically and theoretically. What does it imply for policy performance, the legitimacy of decision-making, and the ways in which member states “take back control”? How can we gain a fuller empirical picture of multi-level policy implementation? The panel invites papers that analyse implementation patterns, delegation processes and administrative discretion, (differentiated) integration, and multi-level governance. Preference is given to studies that provide systematic evidence, are theoretically, conceptually and/or methodologically innovative.


S73 P505

United in Diversity? Implementation and Performance in Multi-Level Governance I
Saturday 09:00 - 10:40 (25/08/2018)

Chair: Eva Thomann

Discussant: Eva Ruffing

Contributors:  Sebastiaan Princen,  Eva Thomann, Asya Zhelyazkova, Bernard Steunenberg, J.C.F. van Oijen, Kor Grit, Roland Bal, Claudia Gloazzo

S73 P506

United in Diversity? Implementation and Performance in Multi-Level Governance II
Saturday 11:00 - 12:40 (25/08/2018)
Chair: Asya Zhelyazkova

Discussants: Sebastiaan Princen and Eva Heidbreder

Contributors: Judith Gollata, Jens Newig, Elisa Kochskämper, Andrea Lenschow, Elena Bondarouk, Lydie Cabane, Martin Lodge, Miriam Hartlapp, Andreas Hofmann, Jana Paasch, Christian Stecker, Jale Tosun

Postgraduate Training Day at UoE

posted May 1, 2018, 8:14 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated May 1, 2018, 8:18 AM ]

Workshop: Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets, University of Reading

posted Jan 31, 2018, 2:17 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Mar 17, 2018, 7:33 AM ]

Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets
The Cedars, University of Reading, UK
3 May 2018
A Seminar led by Dr Eva Thomann


Social scientists often face a trade-off between identifying regularities among cases and accounting for the complexity of social reality. Achieving more “breadth” often comes at the cost of the “depth” of analysis. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is a technique that combines elements of both. QCA enables a systematic, context-sensitive comparison of intermediate (ca. >10) up to large numbers of cases, which is enriched with in-depth case knowledge. As such it helps researchers to model several aspects of causal complexity, such as equifinality – meaning that many ways may lead to Rome – and the configurational nature of cases, for example intersectionality and contextually contingent patterns. Rather than focusing on isolated net effects, QCA if identifies necessary and sufficient conditions for an outcome. This makes it attractive for researchers interested in finding prerequisites for a given phenomenon, or the conditions under which outcomes (such as compliance, successful revolutions, democratic consolidation, etc.) come about.


 Topics covered in the seminar

  • Origins, dissemination, variants and uses of QCA; Causal complexity: equifinality, configurations, asymmetry; The notions of necessity and sufficiency, compared to correlation

  • Sets, calibration, and the structure of social science concepts; Set relations, their consistency and coverage

  • Truth table analysis and logical minimization; Limited empirical diversity and counterfactual arguments

  • Post-QCA case selection: identifying typical and deviant cases

  • Hands-on exercises and introduction to fs/QCA software

  • Replication of a published QCA study

  • Inputs from the participants’ own research projects


    The seminar commences at 10.00 am and closes at 16.30

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