Skip to main content

#EDGEMethods: What is process tracing and what makes it good?

What is process tracing and what makes it good?

Process Tracing is often used as a term synonymous to case studies. Yet Process Tracing is a distinctive method that allows for within-case analysis based on qualitative data. In single case studies, it also allows the study of causal mechanisms, i.e. theories that detail how an outcome is produce. This lecture offers an up-to-date discussion of Process Tracing, addressing what Process Tracing actually is and how it is properly applied as a case study method. The aim of this lecture is to provide an overview of the method, giving insight on how to systematically apply the method and creating an understanding for when the application makes sense or not.

Ingo Rohlfing is Professor for Methods of Comparative Political Research at University of Cologne. His research interests include social science methods, party competition and political parties. He is lecturing widely on different method schools and workshops on social science methods with a focus qualitative methods (case studies and process tracing), Qualitative Comparative Analysis and multimethod research. He has published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Sociological Methods & Research and West European Politics and has authored ‘Case Studies and Causal Inference’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

This event is made possible by the support of the DSh PhD Network.

To register for this event, please send an email to


IES-VUB, Pleinlaan 5, room Lisbon (floor -1)
1050 Brussels