Journal article Open Access

Reflections on analytic transparency in process tracing research

Fairfield, Tasha

While the aims of APSA’s Data Access and Research Trans-parency (DA-RT) initiative are incontrovertible, it is not yet clear how to best operationalize the task force’s recommenda-tions in the context of process tracing research. In this essay, I link the question of how to improve analytic transparency to current debates in the methodological literature on how to establish process tracing as a rigorous analytical tool. There are tremendous gaps between recommendations and actual practice when it comes to improving and elucidating causal inferences and facilitating accumulation of knowledge. In or-der to narrow these gaps, we need to carefully consider the challenges inherent in these recommendations alongside the potential benefits. We must also take into account feasibility constraints so that we do not inadvertently create strong dis-incentives for conducting process tracing.

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