Using qualitative comparative analysis to understand and quantify translation and implementation

Transl Behav Med. 2014 Jun;4(2):201-8. doi: 10.1007/s13142-014-0251-6.


Understanding the factors that facilitate implementation of behavioral medicine programs into practice can advance translational science. Often, translation or implementation studies use case study methods with small sample sizes. Methodological approaches that systematize findings from these types of studies are needed to improve rigor and advance the field. Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) is a method and analytical approach that can advance implementation science. QCA offers an approach for rigorously conducting translational and implementation research limited by a small number of cases. We describe the methodological and analytic approach for using QCA and provide examples of its use in the health and health services literature. QCA brings together qualitative or quantitative data derived from cases to identify necessary and sufficient conditions for an outcome. QCA offers advantages for researchers interested in analyzing complex programs and for practitioners interested in developing programs that achieve successful health outcomes.

Keywords: Case study; Methods for translational and implementation research; Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA).