Cooper, B. (2005) 'Applying Ragin's crisp and fuzzy set QCA to large datasets : social class and educational achievement in the National Child Development Study.', Sociological research online., 10 (2).
The paper explores the use of Charles Ragin's Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in both its crisp and fuzzy set versions in the study of the relations between social class origin, sex, 'ability' and subsequent educational achievement. The work reported is part of a larger ongoing project which is employing QCA to compare these relations within two birth cohorts. Here data are used from the British National Child Development Study, i.e. from children born in 1958. The paper has a methodological focus, bringing out the strengths but also the difficulties that arise when employing QCA with a large dataset of this type. In particular, the problem of calibrating membership in fuzzy sets in a context where detailed case knowledge is not available is illustrated. It is also shown how the use of gradually increasing thresholds with Ragin's fs/QCA software can bring out the relative importance of various factors in accounting for achievement. The QCA-based analysis suggests that the processes of educational attainment can, at best, only be seen as partly falling under a 'meritocratic' description. It is also hoped that this paper will serve as a useful introduction to the potential of QCA for readers not yet familiar with it.
|Keywords:||QCA, Social Class, Educational Attainment, Gender, Fuzzy Sets, Meritocracy.|
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|Publisher Web site:||http://www.socresonline.org.uk/10/2/cooper.html|
|Record Created:||06 Aug 2008|
|Last Modified:||02 Dec 2009 12:06|
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