The primary goal of Charles Ragin, social scientist and innovative methodologist, is to develop methods that help students and researchers unravel causal complexity in their research. This has led to his developing and championing the use of set-theoretic methods in the social sciences, most notably, his Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and fuzzy set analysis. In a recent review article in Contemporary Sociology entitled "The Ragin Revolution" (Vaisey review), sociologist Stephen Vaisey describes Ragin's work as a "principled alternative" to quantitative analysis (which assumes away casual complexity) and qualitative case-based methods (which lack tools for generalizing across cases.) Many who have adopted Ragin's methods believe that these techniques combine the strength of both quantitative and qualitative methods, while transcending their limits.
Constructing Social Research is an innovative text that can serve as an introduction to social research methods course, or as a capstone to an advanced course introducing a social scientific discipline. Rather than offer an inventory of data collection and analysis techniques, its primary goal is to show unity within the diversity of activities that are called social research.