Primer in Theory Construction, A.--A&B Classics Edition / Edition 1

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Overview

A Primer in Theory Construction is for those who have already studied one or more of the social, behavioral, or natural sciences, but have no formal introduction to the way theories are constructed, stated, tested, and connected together to form a scientific body of knowledge. The author discusses scientific theories in general terms, but also addresses the special challenges of developing scientific knowledge about social and human phenomena.

This Allyn and Bacon Classics Edition contains the complete text of the original copyright 1971 version, with new typography and page design.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205501281
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Series: Allyn and Bacon Classics Ser.
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 658,593
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION

For What Should Scientific Knowledge Be Useful?

Typologies, Prediction and Explanation, Sense of Understanding, Control

Theory

How Does a Concept or Statement Become Part of a Scientific

Body of Knowledge?

Desirable Characteristics of Scientific Knowledge--Abstractness,

Intersubjectivity (Meaning), Intersubjectivity (Logical Rigor), Empirical

Relevance

Summary and Conclusion

2. THE IDEA

Kuhn Paradigms Example: Freud’s Theory of Personality

Paradigms Examples: Heider’s Balance Theory; Two Conceptions

Of Status Structures: Elitist and Pluralistic

Paradigm Variations Examples: Variations on the Freudian

Conception of Personality; Variations on Heider’s Balance Theory

Identifying Paradigms

Conclusion

3. CONCEPTS

Definition of Concepts

Abstract vs. Concrete Concepts

Concept Measurement

Quantification of Concepts--The Nominal Level, The Ordinal Level, The

Interval Level, General Comments on Quantification

4. STATEMENTS

Existence Statements

Relational Statements--Associational Statements, Casual Statements,

Deterministic and Probabilistic Statements

Levels of Abstraction

Theoretical Statements

Relation of Theoretical Statements to Theory

Relationship between Theoretical Statements and Empirical Data

Summary

5. FORMS OF THEORIES

The Set-of-Laws Form Examples: The Iron Law

Of Oligarchy; The Laws of Operant Behavior; The Exercise of Influence in

Small Groups

The Axiomatic Form Example: The Exercise of Influence in Small

Groups

The Casual Process Form Examples: The Effect of First Impressions on

Cognitions; Creation of Oligarchies; Operant Behavior, Law II; The Exercise

Of Influence in Small Groups; Status Incongruence and Mental Health

Evaluation of the Three Forms of Theory

Simulation or Model Building

Summary

6. TESTING THEORIES

Abstract Statements and Concrete Research

Empirical Research and Confidence in Abstract Statements

Statisical Decision Procedures--Classical Statistical Inference; Should the

Hypothesis be Presented before the Data are examined?

Changing Confidence in Theories

Comparing Theories

Conclusion

7. STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING A SCIENTIFIC BODY OF KNOWLEDGE

Research-The-Theory

Theory-Then-Research

Comparison of Strategies

How to get a New Idea

Composite Approach

Research Methods

Conclusion

8. CONCLUSION

Potential for a Social Science Potential for a Social Science

APPENDIX: STUDENT EXERCISES

Comments

Assignment 1: Empirical Generalization and Empirical Support

Assignment II: Explanation of an Empirical Generalization

Assignment III: Testing a Theory

Assignment IV: Application of Theories to Natural Phenomena

REFERENCES

AUTHOR INDEX

SUBJECT INDEX

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