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This paper presents a simple and very flexible method for constructing quasi-cyclic (QC) low density paritycheck (LDPC) codes based on finite fields. The code construction is based on two arbitrary subsets of elements from a given field. Some well known constructions of QC-LDPC codes based on finite fields and combinatorial designs are special cases of the proposed construction. The proposed construction in conjunction with a technique, known as masking, results in codes whose Tanner graphs have girth 8 or larger. Experimental results show that codes constructed using the proposed construction perform well and have low error-floors. Also presented in the paper is a reduced-complexity iterative decoding scheme for QC-LDPC codes based on the section-wise cyclic structure of their parity-check matrices. The proposed decoding scheme is an improvement of an earlier proposed reduced-complexity iterative decoding scheme.