Quality & Quantity

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 1109–1126 | Cite as

Two-step QCA revisited: the necessity of context conditions

  • Carsten Q. SchneiderEmail author


The so-called two-step QCA approach as formulated by Schneider and Wagemann (Eur J Polit Res 45(5):751–786, 2006) proposes a separation of conditions into two distinct groups—remote and proximate—and to analyze the impact of these conditions on the outcome in a stepwise manner. While the general logic of the two-step protocol seems to resonate with a broad range of scholars, it, so far, has been only rarely (successfully) applied. This paper argues that this discrepancy between theory and practice is due to the ill-defined nature of the first step. Schneider and Wagemann propose step 1 to be an analysis of inconsistent sufficiency. This has always stood on shaky set-relational grounds. I therefore argue that the first of the two steps in the protocol should be redefined as an analysis of necessity and only step 2 understood as an analysis of sufficiency. While already implicit in its original formulation, this crucial feature of the two-step QCA approach has largely been overlooked. This paper proposes an updated two-step QCA approach that rests on recent innovations in set methods and spells out the advantages of this new protocol.


Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) Two-step QCA Set methods Necessary conditions SUIN conditions Enhanced standard analysis (ESA) 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central European University (CEU)BudapestHungary

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