Concepts, Methods and Techniques in
Political Science, Public Policy
and International Relations

Week 1: 16 - 20 january 2023

Process Tracing Methods:
Learning about How Things Work

Derek Beach, Aarhus University

Teaching Assistant:

Course Description

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 causal processes as they play out within cases and tracing them empirically, enabling within-case causal inferences about the processes that link causes and outcomes together. The aim of this 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.

The course will combine pre-class readings with live sessions aimed at understanding the core elements of Process Tracing as a distinct case study method. Afternoon sessions will involve small group work aimed at improving one’s understanding of the method. Participants will be encouraged to explore how Process Tracing methods could be used in your own research.

Dates - This course runs January 16-20, 2023.

what we will learn


An undergraduate course in research methods, other equivalent basic social science skills, or experience in policy administration/evaluation.