Abstract

Empirical research methods provide the necessary means to extract relevant information from data. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), one such method, is currently making first inroads into the development and planning (D&P) community. On the one hand, QCA is well suited for building empirically founded theories emphasizing causal complexity. On the other hand, however, current use of QCA in D&P research is marked by problematic applications of this method whose results misrepresent the empirical evidence marshaled to support them. Policy recommendations that stand on shaky grounds have been issued in consequence. By reanalyzing a recent empirical study on school sanitation maintenance in Belize, this method workshop article shows how the use of QCA can be improved, which should in turn lead to more solid, evidence-based policy recommendations for development interventions.

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