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A matrix-theoretic approach for studying quasi-cyclic codes based on matrix transformations via Fourier transforms and row and column permutations is developed. These transformations put a parity-check matrix in the form of an array of circulant matrices into a diagonal array of matrices of the same size over an extension field. The approach is amicable to the analysis and construction of quasi-cyclic low-density parity-check codes since it takes into account the specific parity-check matrix used for decoding with iterative message-passing algorithms. Based on this approach, the dimension of the codes and parity-check matrices for the dual codes can be determined. Several algebraic and geometric constructions of quasi-cyclic codes are presented as applications along with simulation results showing their performance over additive white Gaussian noise channels decoded with iterative message-passing algorithms.