Mechanisms, Bayesianism, and process tracing. Mahoney, J. New Political Economy, 21(5):493--499, September, 2016.
Mechanisms, Bayesianism, and process tracing [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
This essay examines the role of mechanisms and Bayesian inference in process tracing. With respect to mechanisms, I argue that the core of process tracing with causal inference is the identification of mechanisms understood as intervening events. Events are different from standard intervening variables when used with process tracing, because events are treated as sets in which cases can have membership. With respect to Bayesian analysis, I concur with recent writings that suggest Bayesian inference is at the heart of process tracing. The Bayesian nature of process tracing explains why it is inappropriate to view qualitative research as suffering from a small-N problem and certain standard causal identification problems. More generally, the paper shows how the power of process tracing as a qualitative methodology depends on and grows from its set-theoretic underpinnings.
@article{mahoney_mechanisms_2016,
	title = {Mechanisms, {Bayesianism}, and process tracing},
	volume = {21},
	issn = {1356-3467},
	url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2016.1201803},
	doi = {10.1080/13563467.2016.1201803},
	abstract = {This essay examines the role of mechanisms and Bayesian inference in process tracing. With respect to mechanisms, I argue that the core of process tracing with causal inference is the identification of mechanisms understood as intervening events. Events are different from standard intervening variables when used with process tracing, because events are treated as sets in which cases can have membership. With respect to Bayesian analysis, I concur with recent writings that suggest Bayesian inference is at the heart of process tracing. The Bayesian nature of process tracing explains why it is inappropriate to view qualitative research as suffering from a small-N problem and certain standard causal identification problems. More generally, the paper shows how the power of process tracing as a qualitative methodology depends on and grows from its set-theoretic underpinnings.},
	number = {5},
	urldate = {2016-08-01},
	journal = {New Political Economy},
	author = {Mahoney, James},
	month = sep,
	year = {2016},
	pages = {493--499},
	file = {Snapshot:files/56193/13563467.2016.html:text/html}
}
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