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Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Useful Tool for Research into Forest Policy and Forestry Conflicts

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The internationalization of the forestry debate and forest policy brings about a growing need to develop, apply, and discuss comparative methodologies in forestry research. This paper illustrates and discusses the use of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), a new comparative tool in forest policy research. The advantages and disadvantages of the method are demonstrated by reanalyzing previous research on public environmental criticism of forestry in Finland, Sweden, Norway, West Germany, France, and the United States between 1950 and 1983. In particular, the reanalysis illustrates the potential benefits of systematic techniques of comparison as supplementary tools to traditional "common sense" interpretations of qualitative data. In addition to arguing on behalf of the technical applicability of the method to comparative forest policy research, a need is expressed to expand the use of the method from causal to noncausal applications. For. Sci. 44(2):254-265.

Keywords: Qualitative data; causation; comparative methodology; computer-based analysis; interpretation

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Researcher, European Forest Institute, Torikatu 34, FIN-80100 Joensuu, Finland. Phone: +358-13-252 020;, Fax: +358-13-124 393

Publication date: May 1, 1998

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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