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.
"There is a real need for a book of this kind. The authors have thought through a number of the issues. They are able to explain the technique, its rationale and limitations in terms that are readily accessible to students."
—Peter Hall, Harvard University
"Process-tracing is foundational to the within-case qualitative research tradition. Beach and Pedersen provide a comprehensive introduction to the approach and help to fill a significant gap in the qualitative research methods canon. This book will be widely read and cited."
—Colin Elman, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
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