Department of Political Science

Process tracing og studiet af kausale mekanismer

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This article contends that there are large methodological advantages in tracing mechanisms linking a given cause (or causes) with an outcome. Causal mechanisms are the theoretical process that link X and Y together. By tracing mechanisms, we gain knowledge about how X contributes to produce Y. There are three advantages of PT. First, PT enables us to make strong inferences about X being causally related to Y because we gain detailed within-case evidence of the process that links X and Y together. Second, we gain a better understanding of the process linking the two. Finally, when tracing mechanisms we do not need to control for other confounding causes. However, the disadvantages of PT are both on the practical-level (enormously demanding to undertake), and the limited ability to generalize findings from the single case.
Translated title of the contributionProcess tracing and the study of causal mechanisms
Original languageDanish
JournalPolitica - Tidsskrift for politisk videnskab
Pages (from-to)24-41
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Process tracing, causal mechanisms, case studies

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