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    Length: 00:41:04
24 Jul 2016

Today quantitative social science is dominated by analytic methods that are heavily slanted toward �variables�. The key focus of analysis is the assessment of the relative importance of �independent� variables on a dependent variable, and researchers view their central task as estimating �net effects�. Many scholars find the dominance of variable-oriented approaches deplorable and argue that the proper remedy is to drop the variable altogether from the lexicon of social research. I argue, however, that the notion of the variable should be reformulated in ways that enhance the interplay and integration of cross-case and within-case analysis. Central to this reformulation is set-theoretic methods such as truth table analysis. I show that set-theoretic methods not only provide a better way for researchers to study �connections� between aspects of cases, it also offers a better bridge to conceptual discourse. I argue further that the extensions and elaborations of set-theoretic methods that are afforded by the use of fuzzy sets are especially valuable for social research.