Process-Tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines

In this book Derek Beach and Rasmus Brun Pedersen refine the definition of process tracing by breaking it into three different variants.  They describe the strengths and weaknesses of each of these variants and outline steps for identifying which one to use based on the research question. They also provide a guidelines for each step of the research process.

This book is available for purchase from University of Michigan Press.


  • Chapter 1. Process- Tracing in the Social Sciences 1
  • Chapter 2. The Three Different Variants of Process- Tracing and Their Uses 9
  • Chapter 3. What Are Causal Mechanisms? 23
  • Chapter 4. Working with Theories of Causal Mechanisms 45
  • Chapter 5. Causal Inference and Process- Tracing Methods 68
  • Chapter 6. Developing Empirical Tests of Causal Mechanisms 95
  • Chapter 7. Turning Observations into Evidence 120
  • Chapter 8. Case Selection and Nesting Process- Tracing Studies in Mixed- Method Designs 144
  • Appendix: A Checklist for Process- Tracing Analysis 163


Beach, D., & Pedersen, R. B. (2013). Process-tracing methods: foundations and guidelines. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved from:
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