RSS01.C4-C5 Process Tracing Methods (Two week course)

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 two-week course is to provide participants with a hands-on understanding of the core elements of process tracing as a distinct social science case study method and how it can be used in your own research. The three core components of process tracing are explored during the two weeks, using a combination of published examples and your own research. Participants are encouraged to use their own research in short daily exercises to explore how Process Tracing methods can improve their own design. This means most benefit is to be expected if participants are able to use parts of their own research, or research ideas, during the course.

During the course we will discuss what theories of causal processes and mechanisms are, how they advance our understanding of (social) phenomena, what it means to study them, and what conclusions can be drawn on the basis of a PT. We will slowly break open the “black-box of causation” and develop the theoretical background, conceptual knowledge, and practical skills necessary to conduct a full-fledged PT from theory development and case selection, to data-gathering, theoretical revisions and drawing conclusions.

Detailed program (pdf, 155 kB)


19 June 2023 - 30 June 2023
Course Fee

Regular: €1895
Students & PhD's: €1195

Early Bird Regular: €1705,50 (application deadline* April 1st) 
Early Bird Students & PhD's: €1075,50 (application deadline* April 1st)

Scholarships and discounts Find more information here
Application deadline

May 1st

*Your application is only completed when the course fee has been paid

Course leader

Week 1: Derek Beach 
Week 2: Hilde van Meegdenburg

Level of participant
  • Master
  • PhD
  • PostDoc
  • Professional
Admission requirements ​There are no specific admission requirements, as this is an introductory course, but do note that it is generally useful to have finalized a Master’s programme before following this course. Only very advanced master’s students currently engaging in an independent research project would be well suited to following this course.
Admission documents
  • ​To get the student/PhD discount you need to upload a copy of your Student card or other proof of registration
  • If you are not a student/PhD, you can upload an empty document under 'Student Card'.
Mode of Study On Campus

4 or 6 Find more information here

Location Radboud University