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Announcing the Necessary Condition Analysis Summer Course 2023

By Stefan Breet
February 7, 2023

Over the past years, the Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) development team has organized workshops, lectures, and short courses to teach researchers and students the NCA methodology. We typically cannot cover everything in those workshops and have to choose between the basics of NCA or more advanced topics.

That’s why I am excited to announce the first one-week summer course on Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA). This comprehensive course is designed for researchers and students who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Necessary Condition Analysis and its application.

Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) is an approach that allows you to identify necessary conditions for important outcomes In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of Necessary Condition Analysis, including its theoretical logic, practical application, relation to other research methods, and research design.

The one-week summer course will take place from 26 June 2023 and 30 June 2023 at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.  It is part of the  2nd Summer School in Social Research Methods organized by MethodsNet.  I will teach this course together with Professor Jan Dul, the founder of the NCA methodology. We will guide you through the Necessary Condition Analysis research step by step, and will provide the knowledge and tools you need to apply the method effectively in your work. 

To sign up for the course, simply visit the website of the Radboud Summer School and fill out the application form. You can find more detailed information about the course below. If you register before the first of march, the course fee is €895,- for regular applicants, and €580,50 for students and PhDs. If you have any questions about the course, please do not hesitate to contact me. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Course Description

This doctoral course will teach you the fundamentals of Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) and help you design your first NCA research project. Necessary Condition Analysis is an innovative research method for identifying necessary (but not sufficient) conditions in data sets. Allowing you to separate the “need-to-haves” from the “nice-to-haves”, NCA offers compelling practical advice and novel theoretical insights. The course provides a comprehensive introduction to NCA, including its theoretical logic, practical application, relation to other research methods, and research design.

The course is designed for students, researchers, and practitioners who want to understand the fundamentals of NCA and learn how they can effectively use the method in their own research projects.

This unique five-day course combines theoretical discussions with practical assignments. You will learn more about conditional logic and how it changes the way we think about causal relationships. We will teach you how to conduct an NCA with the statistical programming language R and RStudio. You will also learn how to identify and formulate necessary condition hypotheses in your own area of expertise. The course will be interactive and developmental in nature. At the end of the course, you will be able to design your own NCA research project.

You will earn 2ECTS when you complete the attendance and participations requirements of the course. It will also be possible to obtain 2 additional ECTS. To do so, you need to write a short academic paper that correctly uses NCA, including the theoretical development and empirical testing of necessity hypotheses.

Course Schedule

The course is structured as follows:

Day 1: Introduction to Necessary Condition Analysis

On the first day of the course, we will discuss the origins, key concepts, and principles of Necessary Condition Analysis. Using published research and practical examples, we will discuss the relevance Necessary Condition Analysis for causal explanation, problem-solving, and decision-making. You will learn about the purpose of the method and its complementarity to other analytical techniques.

Day 2: Developing Necessity Theories and Hypotheses

The second day of the course will zoom in on the theoretical requirements and implications of Necessary Condition Analysis. We will discuss how necessity logic can strengthen existing theoretical frameworks or lead to new theoretical perspectives. There are several ways in which a Necessary Condition Analysis study can make a valuable theoretical contribution to the literature. You will learn how to recognize these contributions in your work and formulate necessity hypotheses that you can test in your area of research.

Day 3: Applying Necessary Condition Analysis

On the third day of the workshop, we will dive into the technical application of Necessary Condition Analysis. We will start with a step-by-step explanation of the research process, from study design to data analysis. We will discuss the criteria that we use to determine whether a condition is necessary or not. You will participate in hands-on exercises that will help you understand how to apply necessary condition analysis in your work.

Day 4: Advanced Topics

The fourth day of the workshop revolves around various advanced topics. We will discuss various emerging trends and development, including the combination of Necessary Condition Analysis with other methods such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) or Partial Least Squares Regression (PLS).

Day 5: Conclusion

Day five of our course is dedicated to your development as a researcher. We will start with a recap of the key concepts and takeaways from the course. You will present the research proposal you developed and will receive feedback from the class and the instructors. We will make sure that you have everything you need to further develop your expertise and write impactful academic papers based on the Necessary Condition Analysis approach.

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