Theory-based causal analysis: process tracing, and qca in practice

Learning goals

- Have a sound understanding of various options for designing theory-based causal analysis

- Are aware of different purposes and uses of various theory-based causal analysis

- Know key principles of rigorous case-based design

- Can apply theory-based causal analysis using process-tracing in practice

- Have a basic understanding of designing a QCA in practice


“There is nothing as practical as a good theory”. This phrase, purportedly coined by Kurt Lewin in the 1940s and later taken up inter alia by Carol Weiss and Ray Pawson resonates well with most evaluators and development practitioners nowadays.

While having been around for more than four decades, over the last decade theory-based evaluation has received new impetus and today is part and parcel of the toolkit of program evaluators across the globe. Most notably, new methodological developments in theory-based causal analysis are increasingly exploited to answer key causal questions that do not lend themselves to (quasi) experimental design. While theory-based causal analysis is not-method specific—it can be embedded in a variety of quantitative and qualitative approaches—the application of qualitative or quali-quantitative theory-based methods is particularly promising.

This workshop covers the following topics: review of various causal theories and their affiliated theory-based evaluation methods; principles for selecting the right design; ..

Areas of expertise
  • Methodological skills /knowledge
Implementing institution/s or person/s (incl. short description)

Estelle Raimondo

Scope (duration)

min. 13h and max. 20h over a period of 5 days

Target groups

The workshop is designed primarily for evaluators or evaluation researchers. It is most suitable for experienced evaluators or evaluators who are well-versed in the basic principles of theory-based evaluation. While the workshop will reach some advanced l

Other Information

This workshop can be considered “advanced” level. The workshop will target evaluators who have a robust understanding of theories of change and solid notions of evaluation design.

Participation requirements

The participants are encouraged (but not required) to take the workshop on Theory-based Evaluation led by Dr. Jos Vaessen in week 2 at the IPDET on-site progam in Bern.