Advertisement

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

  • Oisín Tansey

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 in- creasingly used and cited tool in qualitative research, a trend that is likely to accelerate with the recent publication of Alexander George and Andrew Bennett’s text (2005) on case study research. That book outlines and explores the process tracing method in detail, high- lighting its advantages for exploring causal processes and analysing 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 method itself remains contested in some quarters and there are aspects of George and Bennett’s treatment of it that require further exploration.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aberbach, Joel D./ Putnam, Robert D./ Rockman, Bert A. (1981): Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democra-cies. Harvard.Google Scholar
  2. Aberbach, Joel D./ Rockman, Bert A. (2000): In the Web of Politics: Three Decades of the U.S. Federal Executive. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. Aberbach, See Joel D./ Rockman, Bert A. (2002): Conducting and Coding Elite Interviews. In: PS: Political Science and Politics 35/4: 673–676.Google Scholar
  4. Babbie, Earl (1995): The Practice of Social Research. Belmont.Google Scholar
  5. Bennett, Andrew/ Elman, Colin (2006): Qualitative Research: Recent Developments in Case Study Methods. In: Annual Review of Political Science 9: 455–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berry, Jeffrey M. (2002): Validity and Reliability Issues in Elite Interviewing. In: PS: Political Science and Politics 35/4: 679–682.Google Scholar
  7. Biernacki, Patrick/ Waldord, Dan (1981): Snowball Sampling: Problems and Techniques of Chain Referral Sam-pling. In: Sociological Methods and Research 10/2: 141–163.Google Scholar
  8. Brady, Henry E./ Collier, David (Hrsg.) (2005): Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. Lanham /Boulder/New York.Google Scholar
  9. Checkel, Jeffrey (2006): Tracing Causal Mechanisms. In: International Studies Review 8/2: 362–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Collier, David/ Brady, Henry E./ Seawright, Jason (2005): Critiques, Responses and Trade-Offs. In: Brady, Henry E./ Collier, David (Hrsg.): 195–227.Google Scholar
  11. Collier, David/ Brady, Henry E./ Seawright, Jason (2005): Sources Of Leverage In Causal Inference: Toward an Alternative View of Methodology. In: Brady, Henry E./ Collier, David (Hrsg.): 229–266.Google Scholar
  12. 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. In: Politics 21/1: 73–80(8).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Denitch, Bogdan (1972): Elite Interviewing and Social Structure: An Example from Yugoslavia. In: Public Opinion Quarterly 36: 143–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dexter, Lewis Anthony (1970): Elite and Specialized Interviewing. Colchester, Essex.Google Scholar
  15. Epstein, Lee/ King, Gary (2002): The Rules of Inference. In: The University of Chicago Law Review 69/1: 1–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Falkowski, Lawrence S. (Hrsg.) (1979): Psychological Models in International Politics. Boulder.Google Scholar
  17. Farquharson, Karen (2005): A Different Kind of Snowball: Identifying Key Policymakers. In: International Journal of Social Research Methodology 8/4: 345–353(9).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. George, Alexander L. (1979): The Causal Nexus Between Cognitive Beliefs and Decision-Making Behavior: The’ Operational Code’ Belief System. In: Falkowski, Lawrence S. (Hrsg.): 95–124.Google Scholar
  19. George, Alexander L./ McKeown, Timothy J. (1985): Case Studies and Theories of Organizational Decision Mak-ing. In: Advances in Information Processing in Organizations 2: 21–58.Google Scholar
  20. George, Alexander L./ Bennett, Andrew (2005): Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge.Google Scholar
  21. Goldstein, Kenneth (2002): Getting in the Door: Sampling and Completing Elite Interviews. In: PS: Political Science and Politics 35/4: 669–672.Google Scholar
  22. Hammer, Dean/ Wildavsky, Aaron (1989): The Open-Ended, Semi-Structured Interview: An (Almost) Operational Guide’ In Wildavsky, Aaron (Hrsg.): 57–101.Google Scholar
  23. Henry, Gary T. (1990): Practical Sampling. London.Google Scholar
  24. Kidder, Louise H./ Judd, Charles M./ Smith, Eliot R. (1991): Research Methods in Social Relations. London.Google Scholar
  25. Kramer, Mark (1990): Remembering the Cuban Missile Crisis: Should We Swallow Oral History? In: Interna-tional Security 15/1:212–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mahoney, James (2000): Strategies of Causal Inference in Small-N Analysis. In: Sociological Methods and Research 28/4: 387–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mahoney, James/ Goertz, Gary (2006): A Tale of Two Cultures: Contrasting Quantitative and Qualitative Research. In: Political Analysis 14/3: 227–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Odell, John S. (2006): A Major Milestone with One Major Limitation. A Comment on George and Bennett 2006. In: Qualitative Methods: 37–40.Google Scholar
  29. Rivera, Sharon Werning/ Kozyreva, Polina M./ Sarovskii, Eduard G. (2002): Interviewing Political Elites: Lessons from Russia. In: PS: Political Science and Politics 35/4: 683–688.Google Scholar
  30. Seldon, Anthony/ Pappworth, Joanna (1983): By Word of Mouth: Elite Oral History. New York.Google Scholar
  31. Wildavsky, Aaron (Hrsg.) (1989): Craftways: On the Organisation of Scholarly Work. New Brunswick.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oisín Tansey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Politics and International RelationsUniversity of Oxford, Nuffield College, Oxford UniversityUK

Personalised recommendations