Publications about misinterpretations and critique on NCA

This section refers to publications about misinterpretations and critique on NCA. 

Sorjonen, K., Wikström Alex, J., & Melin, B. (2017). Necessity as a Function of Skewness. Frontiers in psychology8, 2192.

Reply: This article shows by simulation that two unrelated variables can produce an empty space in the upper left corner. This is a valid observation. However, this situation can be detected by NCA’s significance test (Dul, van der Laan, & Kuik, 2020); see also Dul, van der Laan, Kuik, & Karwowski, 2019) , which tests the null hypothesis that the two variables are unrelated. Therefore, NCA’s significance test is also called a “randomness test”. 

Sorjonen, K., & Melin, B. (2019). Predicting the significance of necessity. Frontiers in psychology10, 283.

Reply: Dul, J., van der Laan, E., Kuik, R, & Karwowski, M. (2019). Necessary Condition Analysis: Type I error, power, and over-interpretation of test results. A reply to a comment on NCA, Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1493. (see also the long version by Dul, van der Laan, Kuik and Karwowski, 2019)

This article shows by simulation the probability that NCA’s significance test results in p < 0.05 when X and Y are related. The simulation corresponds testing the power: the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis when, in fact, it is false. The simulation shows that NCA has high power. Sorjonen and Melin (2019) criticize NCA’s significance test because of its inability to specify which alternative hypothesis of relatedness between X and Y resulted in p < 0.05. However, no null hypothesis test can test a specific alternative hypothesis; expecting this from a null hypothesis test is a common misconception. NCA’s significance test is a null-hypothesis test, not a test of an alternative hypothesis [the same misconception about the ability of a null-hypothesis test is made in Sorjonen, K., & Melin, B. (2023). Necessary condition analysis has either low specificity or low sensitivity: Results from simulations and empirical analyses of grit, depression, and anxiety. Heliyon, 9(4)]

Thiem, A. (2021). The Logic and Methodology of “Necessary but Not Sufficient Causality” A Comment on Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA). Sociological Methods & Research. 50(2), 913-925.

Reply: Dul, J., Vis, B., & Goertz, G. (in press). Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) Does Exactly What It Should Do When Applied Properly: A Reply to a Comment on NCA. Sociological Methods & Research. 50(2), 926-936.

Thiem criticizes NCA as a valid method for identifying necessary conditions. He argues that QCA is better equipped to do so. The reply to this article  shows that there are two critical flaws in this article: it is based on wrong assumptions about what NCA aims to do, and it applies NCA incorrectly.

Dul, J. (2022). Problematic applications of necessary condition analysis (NCA) in tourism and hospitality research. Tourism Management, 104616. 

This article identifies two problematic applications of NCA that are primarily published in the tourism and hospitality research field when NCA is combined with QCA. The first problem is a logical misinterpretation that a factor that is a necessary condition for the outcome must be part of each sufficient configuration (which is correct), also implies the opposite: a factor that is part of the sufficient configuration must be a necessary condition (which is not correct). The second problem is the statement that NCA is the necessity analysis of fsQCA.