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Process Tracing and Elite Interviewing: A Case for Non-probability Sampling

  • Oisín Tansey (a1)
Abstract

This article explores the relationship between the method of process tracing and the data collection technique of elite interviewing. The process tracing method has become an increasingly used and cited tool in qualitative research, a trend that has recently accelerated with the publication of Alexander George and Andrew Bennett's text (2005), Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. That book outlines and explores the process tracing method in detail, highlighting its advantages for exploring causal processes and analyzing complex decision-making. Yet while the book presents a rigorous and compelling account of the process tracing method and its critical importance to case study research, the value of the method itself remains contested in some quarters, and there are aspects of George and Bennett's treatment of it that require further exploration.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Bennett, Andrew, and Colin Elman. 2006. “Qualitative Research: Recent Developments in Case Study Methods.” Annual Review of Political Science 9: 45576.

Checkel, Jeffrey. 2006. “Tracing Causal Mechanisms.” International Studies Review 8 (June): 36270.

Davies, Philip H. J. 2001. “Spies as Informants: Triangulation and the Interpretation of Elite Interview Data in the Study of the Intelligence and Security Services.” Politics 21 (1): 7380.

Denitch, Bogdan. 1972. “Elite Interviewing and Social Structure: An Example from Yugoslavia.” Public Opinion Quarterly 36: 14358.

Epstein, Lee, and Gary King. 2002. “The Rules of Inference.” University of Chicago Law Review 69 (winter): 1209.

Farquharson, Karen. 2005. “A Different Kind of Snowball: Identifying Key Policymakers.” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 8 (October): 34553.

Kramer, Mark. 1990. “Remembering the Cuban Missile Crisis: Should We Swallow Oral History?International Security 15 (summer): 2128.

Mahoney, James. 2000. “Strategies of Causal Inference in Small-N Analysis.” Sociological Methods and Research 28 (May): 387424.

Mahoney, James, and Gary Goertz. 2006. “A Tale of Two Cultures: Contrasting Quantitative and Qualitative Research.” Political Analysis 14: 246.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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