Letter from the Editors


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We are delighted to present this double issue of Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. We open with an essay by John Gerring and Lee Cojocaru on an issue with which most qualitative and multi-method researchers have surely wrestled. Based on a systematic review of journal practices, Gerring and Cojocaru argue that “arbitrary” word or page limits have profound and deleterious effects on how and where research results are communicated and on the topics we choose to study. They propose that journals thus abolish “one-size-fits-all word limits,” allowing every article to be “as long as it needs to be.”

Our first symposium unpacks the theoretical underpinnings of process tracing. While process tracing is often understood as inquiry into causal mechanisms, there is much ambiguity about what mechanisms are and how we should study them. Derek Beach, Andrew Bennett, Rosa Runhardt, and David Waldner tackle these issues, each advancing a specific understanding of mechanisms and deriving implications for qualitative strategies of causal inference.

In our second symposium, Lahra Smith, Gary Goertz, and Patrick Thaddeus Jackson discuss Frederic Schaffer’s Elucidating Social Science Concepts: An Interpretivist Guide. Schaffer takes up their constructive criticisms to suggest further ways of advancing our understanding of concepts.

For future issues of QMMR, we invite proposals for articles and symposia. We especially encourage proposals of broad interest for QMMR scholars such as for symposia about methodological approaches or problems that are currently animating debate or shaping research practice in large segments of the discipline. We look forward to hearing from you.

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