Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Hybrid Method for Identifying Factors Associated with Program Effectiveness

J Mix Methods Res. 2016 Jul;10(3):251-272. doi: 10.1177/1558689815572023. Epub 2015 Feb 25.


Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) was developed over 25 years ago to bridge the qualitative and quantitative research gap. Upon searching PubMed and the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, this review identified 30 original research studies that utilized QCA. Perceptions that QCA is complex and provides few relative advantages over other methods may be limiting QCA adoption. Thus, to overcome these perceptions, this article demonstrates how to perform QCA using data from fifteen institutions that implemented universal tumor screening (UTS) programs to identify patients at high risk for hereditary colorectal cancer. In this example, QCA revealed a combination of conditions unique to effective UTS programs. Results informed additional research and provided a model for improving patient follow-through after a positive screen.

Keywords: RE-AIM; configurational comparative method; cross-case comparison; effectiveness; evaluation.