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Singapore Management University

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Research methods

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Process-Tracing Research Designs: A Practical Guide, Jacob Ricks, Amy H. Liu Oct 2018

Process-Tracing Research Designs: A Practical Guide, Jacob Ricks, Amy H. Liu

Research Collection School of Social Sciences

Process-tracing has grown in popularity among qualitative researchers. However, unlike statistical models and estimators—or even other topics in qualitative methods—process-tracing is largely bereft of guidelines, especially when it comes to teaching. We address this shortcoming by providing a step-by-step checklist for developing a research design to use process-tracing as a valid and substantial tool for hypothesis testing. This practical guide should be of interest for both research application and instructional purposes. An online appendix containing multiple examples facilitates teaching of the method.