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Conducting and Visualizing Set-Theoretic Social Research with Python


In this talk, I will discuss a suite of F/OSS programs (Python/Qt) that I have developed for conducting "qualitative comparative analysis," a social research technique for analyzing subset relationships. (For example, religious fundamentalists constitute a rough subset of political conservatives: most religious fundamentalists are politically conservative but most conservatives aren't religious fundamentalists.)

The talk will review the process of developing the software, beginning with an R implementation that was ultimately discarded, and outline why I ended up choosing Python and review the consequences of that choice, both pro and con. I will also discuss my current work on developing new techniques for visualizing subset relationships, including different approaches to presenting Venn and Euler diagrams. More generally, I'll assess benefits and disadvantages of using Python for developing academic software.


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