Department of Political Science

What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

Standard

What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations. / Beach, Derek; Pedersen, Rasmus Brun.

2011. Paper presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011, Seattle, United States.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

Harvard

Beach, D & Pedersen, RB 2011, 'What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations', Paper presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011, Seattle, United States, 01/09/2011 - 04/09/2011.

APA

Beach, D., & Pedersen, R. B. (2011). What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations. Paper presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011, Seattle, United States.

CBE

Beach D, Pedersen RB. 2011. What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations. Paper presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011, Seattle, United States.

MLA

Beach, Derek and Rasmus Brun Pedersen What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations. American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011, 01 Sep 2011, Seattle, United States, Paper, 2011. 34 p.

Vancouver

Beach D, Pedersen RB. What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations. 2011. Paper presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011, Seattle, United States.

Author

Beach, Derek ; Pedersen, Rasmus Brun. / What is Process Tracing actually tracing? The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations. Paper presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011, Seattle, United States.34 p.

Bibtex

@conference{b4df6047f5334f13a6c2ddba1f447b4a,
title = "What is Process Tracing actually tracing?: The three variants of process tracing methods and their uses and limitations",
abstract = "We argue that a lot of the murkiness about what Process Tracing (PT) actually is and how it should be used in practice can be cleared up by identifying three variants of PT within political science: theory-testing PT, theory-building PT, and explaining outcomes PT. The three can be differentiated along several dimensions, including whether they are theory- or case-centric, the types of inferences being made, how they understand causal mechanisms, and whether and how they can be nested in mixed-methods designs.The differentiation of PT into three variants has important implications for how and when we use PT case studies. First, there are differences in what we are actually tracing in the three variants, resulting in different methodological prescriptions for each variant. Second, the types of inferences being made are also different; the variants therefore have different analytical uses. And finally, the three variants differ as regards whether they can be nested into mixed-methods research designs. In theory-testing PT, a more general causal mechanism is being traced in the case study; a mechanism that is expected to function across a bounded-set of contexts. Here the findings of a single case study can potentially be exported and compared with other cases, enabling theory-testing studies to be nested within mixed-methods designs. In contrast, explaining outcome PT cannot be nested in mixed-methods designs.",
author = "Derek Beach and Pedersen, {Rasmus Brun}",
year = "2011",
language = "English",
note = "American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011 ; Conference date: 01-09-2011 Through 04-09-2011",

}

RIS

TY - CONF

T1 - What is Process Tracing actually tracing?

T2 - American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2011

AU - Beach, Derek

AU - Pedersen, Rasmus Brun

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - We argue that a lot of the murkiness about what Process Tracing (PT) actually is and how it should be used in practice can be cleared up by identifying three variants of PT within political science: theory-testing PT, theory-building PT, and explaining outcomes PT. The three can be differentiated along several dimensions, including whether they are theory- or case-centric, the types of inferences being made, how they understand causal mechanisms, and whether and how they can be nested in mixed-methods designs.The differentiation of PT into three variants has important implications for how and when we use PT case studies. First, there are differences in what we are actually tracing in the three variants, resulting in different methodological prescriptions for each variant. Second, the types of inferences being made are also different; the variants therefore have different analytical uses. And finally, the three variants differ as regards whether they can be nested into mixed-methods research designs. In theory-testing PT, a more general causal mechanism is being traced in the case study; a mechanism that is expected to function across a bounded-set of contexts. Here the findings of a single case study can potentially be exported and compared with other cases, enabling theory-testing studies to be nested within mixed-methods designs. In contrast, explaining outcome PT cannot be nested in mixed-methods designs.

AB - We argue that a lot of the murkiness about what Process Tracing (PT) actually is and how it should be used in practice can be cleared up by identifying three variants of PT within political science: theory-testing PT, theory-building PT, and explaining outcomes PT. The three can be differentiated along several dimensions, including whether they are theory- or case-centric, the types of inferences being made, how they understand causal mechanisms, and whether and how they can be nested in mixed-methods designs.The differentiation of PT into three variants has important implications for how and when we use PT case studies. First, there are differences in what we are actually tracing in the three variants, resulting in different methodological prescriptions for each variant. Second, the types of inferences being made are also different; the variants therefore have different analytical uses. And finally, the three variants differ as regards whether they can be nested into mixed-methods research designs. In theory-testing PT, a more general causal mechanism is being traced in the case study; a mechanism that is expected to function across a bounded-set of contexts. Here the findings of a single case study can potentially be exported and compared with other cases, enabling theory-testing studies to be nested within mixed-methods designs. In contrast, explaining outcome PT cannot be nested in mixed-methods designs.

M3 - Paper

Y2 - 1 September 2011 through 4 September 2011

ER -