ekomex: Introduction to Causal Process Tracing


This five-day online course covers the core elements of process tracing as a robust case study method and how to utilize it in your own research, focusing on relative strengths and limitations, different variants, and its combination with other methods in multi-method designs.

What This Course is About?
Process tracing is a research method for tracing causal mechanisms using detailed, within-case empirical analysis of how a causal process plays out in an actual case. This five-day online course provides participants with a working understanding of the core elements of process tracing (PT) as a robust case study method, enabling them to utilize it in their own research – either alone or in combination with other methods. The course will discuss PT’s relative strengths and limitations, different variants, and how it can be combined productively with other methods in multi-method designs such as experiments or small/medium-n comparisons. The core elements of PT will be introduced, focusing on what we are actually “tracing” using PT (the causal process), how we are able to make evidence-based causal inferences using within-case, mechanistic evidence, and how we can combine within-case and cross-case knowledge.

Learning Goals
The learning goals of this course are:

  • Understanding how Process Tracing is similar and different to other case study methods
  • Ability to theorize a process theory (aka causal mechanism) in terms that can be studied empirically
  • Ability to assess the probative value of evidence for a process theoryUnderstanding of case selection principles for Process Tracing
  • Understanding how knowledge from Process Tracing case studies can be used in combination with other methods.

Who is Your Instructor?
Derek Beach is a professor of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, where he teaches international relations, European integration and case study methodology. He has authored articles, chapters, and books on research methodology, international negotiations, referendums, and European integration, and co-authored the books Process-tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines (2019, 2nd edition) and Causal Case Study Methods: Comparing, Matching and Tracing (2016) (both with the University of Michigan Press). He has taught case study methods at ECPR and IPSA summer and winter schools, held short courses at the APSA annual meeting on Process-tracing, ICPSR (Michigan), and numerous workshops and seminars on case-based methods throughout the world. He is an academic coordinator of the Methods Excellence Network (MethodsNet).
Twitter: @beach_methodman

Anforderungen des Bildungszeitgesetzes Baden-Württemberg sind erfüllt
Ihre Investition 
460 EUR / Early bird 390 EUR / Please note: you will gain access to our learning management system Moodle only after having paid your course fee
ECTS Credits 
Kontakt für Fragen 
06.03.2023 (ganztägig)
07.03.2023 (ganztägig)
08.03.2023 (ganztägig)
09.03.2023 (ganztägig)
10.03.2023 (ganztägig)
Datum Details 
This intensive 1-week course over 5 days entails 4h of online teaching activities per day plus online office hour, including a mixture of asynchronous and synchronous elements and small-group work. Moreover, students should plan for sufficient time to do the assigned daily homework and read the assigned literature in advance.