ps 235 lecture notes spring 2010 clayton thyne based on frankfort nachmias nachmias chapter 2 n.
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PS 235 Lecture Notes Spring 2010 Clayton Thyne Based on Frankfort-Nachmias & Nachmias, Chapter 2. Research Methods in the Social Sciences, Lecture 2. Intro.

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ps 235 lecture notes spring 2010 clayton thyne based on frankfort nachmias nachmias chapter 2
PS 235 Lecture Notes

Spring 2010

Clayton Thyne

Based on Frankfort-Nachmias & Nachmias, Chapter 2

Research Methods in the Social Sciences, Lecture 2

intro
Intro
  • We recall from Ch.1 that social science is validated by (1) reason and (2) experience…or (1) the conceptual/theoretical and (2) the observational/empirical
  • This chapter focuses on #1: reason/theory
what is a concept
What is a Concept?
  • Concept = symbol/abstraction/representation… shorthand descriptions of the empirical world
  • Examples include ‘power,’ ‘bureaucracy,’ ‘community,’ ‘repression’…
functions of concepts
Functions of Concepts
  • Functions of concepts:
    • Provide tools for communication
    • Allow us to develop a perspective – a way of looking at empirical phenomena in an objective way
    • Allow us to classify & generalize
    • Components of theories
definitions
Definitions
  • 2 types:
    • Conceptual
      • Define concepts using other concepts
    • Operational
      • How concepts are actually measured
issues
Issues
  • Congruence: The measure must match the theoretical concept
  • Theoretical Import: the concept must be measurable, or it can’t be used
theory functions types
Theory: Functions & Types
  • “Theory” is ambiguous
  • Good definition: “a logical-deductive system consisting of a set of interrelated concepts from which testable propositions can be derived deductively”
  • What a theory is not:
    • Something impractical
    • A philosophy
types of theories
Types of Theories
  • Ad-hoc classificatory systems
  • Taxonomies
  • Conceptual frameworks
  • Theoretical systems
axiomatic theory
Axiomatic Theory
  • This is what you need to devise
  • 4 steps:
  • State concepts and definitions; both conceptual and operational
  • Define situation where the theory can be applied (unit of analysis)
  • Explain relationships between IV and DV using…
  • logic
why use axiomatic theory
Why use Axiomatic Theory?
  • Forces careful description and explanation of concepts
  • Must operationalize concepts
  • Provides parsimony
  • Allows studies to build on each other
  • Allows for empirical verification of the theory