Path tracing in the study of agency and structures: Methodological considerations

Markku Sotarauta, Markus Grillitsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Despite the rapidly expanding literature on agency in regional development, the methodological approaches available to study it have not followed theoretical development and empirical studies. This article aims to shed light on methodological issues related to the study of path dependence, path creation and agency. The article’s main purpose is to construct a methodology - path tracing - that would allow studying path development by scrutinising how structures constrain actors and how actors work to shape the very same structures in which they are embedded. Path tracing draws on critical realism, process tracing and structured narrative analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-102
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date16 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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