Process Tracing in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research


  • Derek Beach, Aarhus Universitet

This workshop will be offered in an online video format.

Process tracing is a research method designed to learn how things work in real-world cases. Increasingly used across the social sciences and in applied policy evaluation, process tracing involves unpacking a causal process in a case and tracing how it worked empirically, enabling strong within-case inferences about causal processes.

The aim of this intensive three-day course is to provide participants with a good working understanding of the core elements of process tracing as a distinct social science case study method, enabling you to utilize it in your own research either as a stand-alone method or in combination with other methods in multi-method designs such as experiments or small/medium-n comparisons using Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The course will combine lectures and discussions with group work on exercises and individual work using your own research.

The course explores the two core elements of process tracing, focusing first on the theory-side of what we are actually 'tracing' (i.e. causal processes or mechanisms), and second, how we are able to make evidence-based causal inferences using within-case, 'mechanistic' evidence that are the traces left by the operation of causal processes. The final session deals with case selection and how it can be combined with other methods.

Prerequisites: Participants should have encountered the basics of qualitative, case study research methods (e.g. King, Keohane and Verba's Designing Social Inquiry (1994) is a good starting point).

Registration Fee: Members = $1,400; Non-members = $2,700

Tags: qualitative, mixed methods, process tracing

Course Sections

Section 1

Location: Online -- Video format,

Date(s): May 27 - May 29

Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


  • Derek Beach, Aarhus Universitet