Research Papers

Abstract

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) has increasingly become popular in Information Systems (IS) research. However, there are several pitfalls and bad practices when applying QCA. Therefore, we aim at providing an extensive overview of (1) how QCA has been applied so far in IS research and (2) how future QCA-based IS research can be improved. To do so, we review articles from IS journals and conferences using an extensive coding scheme based on methodological literature and QCA reviews from other research disciplines. First, our results show standards of reporting and justification, well established in other disciplines, are often not fulfilled. Second, we find that extant research is predominantly based on large-N analyses, which limits some of the key capabilities of QCA. Third, we show that necessity analysis is under- and sometimes even misused. Lastly, extant research suffers from low solution coverage values that are not adequately discussed and sensitivity analyses that are not employed frequently. Our findings represent the current state of QCA in IS research and highlight the potential for improvement in future QCA studies.

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