The Elements of Social Scientific Thinking / Edition 8

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Overview

A concise introduction to the fundamental concepts of social scientific thinking and research, this classic text makes scientific thinking, research methods and statistics accessible to undergraduates at a common sense level. This text is intended for use in a broad array of the social sciences, including Political Science, Sociology and Psychology.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
New edition of a standard. Incorporates some additions: a fuller explanation of various classes of independent variables; revised presentation of path analysis; expanded discussion of "Mortality and the limits of science." Acidic paper. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780534614119
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 7/21/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Hoover (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Western Washington University. His final books included THE FUTURE OF IDENTITY (2004); ECONOMICS AS IDEOLOGY: KEYNES,LASKI, HAYEK AND THE CREATION OF CONTEMPORARY POLITICS (2003); and with John Miles, Vernon Johnson, and Sara Weir, IDEOLOGY AND POLITICAL LIFE, Third Edition (2001).

Todd Donovan (Ph.D., University of California, Riverside) is a professor of Political Science at Western Washington University. He teaches state and local politics; American politics, parties, campaigns, and elections; comparative electoral systems; and introductory research methods and statistics. His research interests include direct democracy, election systems and representation, political behavior, subnational politics, and the political economy of local development. He has been published extensively in academic journals; written a number of books on direct democracy, elections, institutions, and reform; and has received numerous grants and awards for his work. He is coauthor (with Ken Hoover) of THE ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC THINKING, also published by Cengage Learning.

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Table of Contents

Preface v

About the Authors ix

1 Thinking Scientifically 1

Why Bother to Be Systematic? 4

The Role of Reasoned judgment and Opinion 5

The Role of Imagination, Intuition, and Custom 6

2 The Elements of Science 11

The Origin and Utility of Concepts 12

What Is a Variable? 15

The Hypothesis 24

The Scientific Method 27

The Many Roles of Theory 29

3 Strategies 38

Thinking Over the Problem 40

Reality Testing 46

Understanding the Results 50

4 Refinements 58

Hypotheses 59

Variables 73

5 Measuring Variables and Relationships 78

Measuring Variables: Levels of Measurement 79

Measuring the Significance and Representativeness of Data: Probability, Sampling, and Problems in Polling 84

Measuring Relationships Between Variables: Association and Correlation 92

Computers and Statistics 113

6 Reflections: Back to the Roots 118

Factuality, Reality, and Actuality 119

Morality and the Limits of Science 122

Of Scientists, Science, and Paradigms 127

Making Social Science Serve Human Needs 129

The Radicalism of Science 132

Science and Politics 133

Appendix A Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America 138

Appendix B Trust in Government: The United States in Comparative Perspective 167

Index 192

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