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The Evaluation of Complex Infrastructure Projects

A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

Infrastructure projects are notoriously hard to manage so it is important that society learns from the successes and mistakes made over time. However, most evaluation methods run into a conundrum: either they cover a large number of projects but have little to say about their details, or they focus on detailed single-case studies with little in terms of applicability elsewhere. This book presents Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an alternative evaluation method that solves the conundrum to enhance learning.
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Chapter 3: Calibration

Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij


We explain and demonstrate how the selected cases have to be prepared for the actual comparison. This involves a serious effort with regard to the interpretation of the case materials. In QCA, this process of interpreting data is guided by calibration, where raw (qualitative) case data are transformed into quantitative values. Calibration is important because it systematizes interpretation and makes it transparent. There are three principle types of calibration in QCA: crisp-set QCA, fuzzy-set QCA, and multi-value QCA. We explain and demonstrate the different types of calibration using real examples. We also discuss good practices that will help the researcher in making sound decisions when calibrating. The calibration results in a calibrated data matrix, which forms the input for the formal comparison in QCA. Having completed this chapter, the researcher will be able to start the comparison.

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