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The use of QCA in science, technology and innovation studies: a review of the literature and an empirical application to knowledge transfer

Manuel Fernández-Esquinas (), María Isabel Sánchez-Rodríguez, José Antonio Pedraza-Rodríguez and Rocío Muñoz-Benito
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Manuel Fernández-Esquinas: Institute for Advanced Social Studies-CSIC
María Isabel Sánchez-Rodríguez: University of Cordoba
José Antonio Pedraza-Rodríguez: University of Cordoba
Rocío Muñoz-Benito: University of Cordoba

Scientometrics, 2021, vol. 126, issue 8, No 3, 6349-6382

Abstract: Abstract This article analyses the use of qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) in social studies on science, technology and innovation. The goals are to address how and why the method is used, and to explore the advantages and shortcomings for this research area. A review of the literature and practical application are combined. Firstly, the article finds that the acceptance of QCA is unevenly distributed in the major research fields related to knowledge production. It is used mainly to study innovation in firms but is largely absent in science and technology studies. Second, an original study on university–industry links provides a strategic site that displays how research unfolds. Its findings demonstrate the combinations of factors that shape knowledge transfer and the configurational nature of the process. The article offers an account of challenges and directions for future research and discusses the possibilities of the method as a third way between qualitative and quantitative traditions in science, technology and innovation.

Keywords: QCA; Science; Technology; Innovation; Knowledge transfer; Universities; SMEs local innovation systems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s11192-021-04012-y

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