Department of Political Science

Process-Tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines

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Process-tracing in social science is a method for studying causal mechanisms linking causes with outcomes. This enables the researcher to make strong inferences about how a cause (or set of causes) contributes to producing an outcome. Derek Beach and Rasmus Brun Pedersen introduce a refined definition of process-tracing, differentiating it into three distinct variants and explaining the applications and limitations of each. The authors develop the underlying logic of process-tracing, including how one should understand causal mechanisms and how Bayesian logic enables strong within-case inferences. They provide instructions for identifying the variant of process-tracing most appropriate for the research question at hand and a set of guidelines for each stage of the research process.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Number of pages328
ISBN (Print)9780472037353
ISBN (Electronic)9780472124787
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Bayesian logic, Case studies, Causal mechanisms, Causality, Conceptualization, Evidence, Explaining case outcomes, Operationalization, Process tracing, Theory building, Theory testing

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ID: 167782839