Social process tracing - bringing back the social into the process



Process tracing methods are increasingly popular in the social sciences. At the same time, most existing guidelines miss ‘the social’ when studying political and social processes. In effect, existing guidelines for PT suggest there is little difference between studying the natural world and the social world. In this article, we attempt to reconstruct process tracing methodology to create what we term ‘social process tracing’ methods, making it better suited to studying social processes, enabling the theorization of more socially-contextualized processes, and empirical analysis that supplements existing forms of process tracing evidence with ‘experience-near’ evidence based on participant understandings of specific settings and actors in question. In other words, to incorporate the beliefs, values and meanings of individuals to the causal explanation.


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