Process Tracing and Causal Inference.
How should we judge competing explanatory claims in social science
research? How can we make inferences about which alternative explanations
are more convincing, in what ways, and to what degree? Case study
methods—especially methods of within-case analysis such as process tracing—
are an indispensable part of the answer to these questions (George
and Bennett 2005: chap. 10). This chapter offers an overview of process
tracing as a tool for causal inference, focusing on the study of international
relations, an area rich with examples of this approach. In contrast to the
subsequent two chapters in this volume (chaps. 11 and 12), where Freedman
and Brady analyze micro-level examples, the present chapter explores
process tracing in macro studies.
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