Abstract and Keywords
This article provides an overview of process tracing, concentrating on the dimensions of this method that are relevant to Bayesian logic. It also briefly outlines the logic of Bayesian inference, emphasizing parallels with the logic of process tracing. The article shows these points with examples from the historical explanation of political events, including the 1898 Fashoda crisis, the end of the First World War, and the end of the Cold War. It concludes that Bayesianism helps in understanding the strengths of case-study methods, including their potential to develop and test explanations even with limited evidence drawn from one or a few cases, and their limits, including the provisional nature of historical explanations and the challenges of generalizing from small numbers of cases. The ‘Degrees of Freedom’ problem is inapplicable to process tracing, even though the more fundamental problem of underdetermination remains.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.