Internal Event
CGIAR Initiative webinar

Process Tracing Assessment

Watch the recording of the webinar
CGIAR Research Initiative on Rethinking Food Markets
MELIA&SPA team of the Rethinking Food Markets Initiative

This webinar offered a deeper dive into the concept of scaling preparedness through the lens of the Process Tracing (PT) methodology. This informative session served as a platform for the consultancy team to provide a detailed overview of PT as a methodology and to explore its practical implications within the context of innovation scaling. 

The objectives of the seminar were to:

  • Introduce the consultancy team: To introduce the dedicated team working on process tracing alongside the MELIA&SPA team.
  • Share PT Conceptual Foundations: To familiarize participants with the fundamental principles and significance of PT in the context of scaling innovations. The consultancy team delved into the theoretical underpinnings of PT, emphasizing how it can be used to assess observed outcomes linked to one/multiple  causal pathways 
  • PT Real-world Application: To share one practical application of PT through one real-world example, drawing from the team's experience. Through this example, participants gained insights into how PT can be effectively applied to actual scenarios, making it more relatable to their work.
  • Engagement Strategies: To outline our engagement strategies, ensuring a deeper understanding of what the application of PT entails. 
  • Criteria for Selection: The consultancy team provided attendees with practical insights into the criteria they consider when choosing bundles for PT. This guidance aimed to clarify the parameters to make informed decisions regarding the application of PT in this initiative.
  • Spur Dialogue: Throughout the seminar, the consultancy team encouraged an open dialogue to gather questions and feedback. 

Key take-aways from the webinar

  • Process Tracing is a case-based approach to causal inference which focuses on the use of clues within a single case to adjudicate between alternative possible explanations.
  • Process tracing helps to explain changes and causation based on a single case and an observed outcome. 
  • We examine an observed outcome connected to a project/ intervention to help assess and explain contribution - contribution claim(s). 
  • Developing alternative claims -  rival and complementary - adds rigour to the assessment of our contribution claim and helps mitigate bias.
  • Process tracing tests are very useful to determine necessary and unique evidence to increase (or decrease) confidence in a contribution claim and causal mechanism.
  • This supports one to confirm or disconfirm a contribution claim and causal mechanism and helps to rule out (or not) alternative claims.

Next steps

  • To plan an initial country level engagement to address more questions on PT, to identify the key progress markers/existing evidence for each bundle towards a prospective outcome, to probe on motivation and interest to engage in the process.
  • To continue conversation with country partners based on the 7 bundles’ selection. A second engagement will be proposed to each specific bundle’s team to roll-out the protocols for process tracing and operationalize key data collection processes. 
  • To plan regular workshops on a quarterly basis with each team of the selected bundles to verify progress along the markers and to discuss key pieces of evidence towards the prospected outcome. 
  • To maintain regular communication with the Global team to ensure Country-specific engagements are clear and coherently structured with respect to the expected objectives of this service.
  • To offer more in-depth process tracing seminar for participants beyond the Initiative on request and based on time’s availability