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