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Finding Pathways
Mixed-Method Research for Studying Causal Mechanisms


Part of Strategies for Social Inquiry

  • Date Published: July 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107684768

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About the Authors
  • Social scientists have identified a need to move beyond the analysis of correlation among variables to the study of causal mechanisms that link them. Nicholas Weller and Jeb Barnes propose that a solution lies in 'pathway analysis', the use of case studies to explore the causal links between related variables. This book focuses on how the small-N component of multi-method research can meaningfully contribute and add value to the study of causal mechanisms. The authors present both an extended rationale for the unique role that case studies can play in causal mechanism research, and a detailed view of the types of knowledge that case studies should try to generate and how to leverage existing large-N data to guide the case selection process. The authors explain how to use their approach both to select cases and to provide context on previously studied cases.

    • Describes how to integrate large and small-N research - a valuable technique for scholars who want to use multiple methods in their research
    • Addresses the recent turn towards mechanism-focused research, stressing the important contribution of small-N research in studying causal mechanisms
    • Applies proposed research technique to actual, empirical examples
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Finding Pathways makes an important contribution to the growing methodological literature on the identification of causal mechanisms. Weller and Barnes provide researchers with a powerful set of tools to investigate causal processes by showing how the logic of causal mediation analysis can bridge quantitative and qualitative research.' Kosuke Imai, Princeton University, New Jersey

    'This is an enlightening, concise, and deeply pragmatic guide for social scientists who are investigating the unobserved mechanisms that connect causes to outcomes. Essential for both graduate students and senior scholars who use multi-method approaches.' Michael L. Ross, University of California, Los Angeles

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107684768
    • length: 171 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 173 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Pathway analysis and the elusive search for causal mechanisms
    2. Preparing for pathway analysis
    3. Case selection for pathway analysis
    4. Comparison of case selection approaches
    5. Regression-based case selection for pathway analysis of non-linear relationships
    6. Matching to select cases for pathway analysis
    7. Using large-N methods to gain perspective on prior case studies
    8. Pathway analysis and future studies of mechanisms
    9. Conclusion.

  • Resources for

    Finding Pathways

    Nicholas Weller, Jeb Barnes

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  • Authors

    Nicholas Weller, University of Southern California
    Nicholas Weller is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California.

    Jeb Barnes, University of Southern California
    Jeb Barnes is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California.

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