Making It Count: The Improvement of Social Research and Theory
This title reexamines and reconsiders the model of empirical research underlying most empirical work. The goal is neither a whitewash nor capital punishment, but rather it is to reform and mold empirical research into an activity that contributes as much as possible to a rigorous understanding of society. Without worrying about defining science or even determining the essence of the scientific enterprise, the goal is one that pools together logical thinking and empirically determined information.One of the fundamental issues to be addressed in this volume: Are there questions currently studied that are basically unanswerable even if the investigator had ideal nonexperimental data? If so, what are the alternative questions that can be dealt with successfully by empirical social research, and how should they be approached? In the chapters ahead, it will be important to keep in mind this doctrine of the undoable. Of course, one cannot simply mutter "undoable" when a difficult obstacle is encountered, turn off the computer, and look in the want ads for a new job or at least a new task. Instead, it means considering if there is some inherent logical reason or sociological force that makes certain empirical questions unanswerable. There are four types of undoable questions to consider: those that are inherently impossible; those that are premature; those that are overly complicated; and those that empirical and theoretical knowledge have nullified."
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
Making it Count: The Improvement of Social Research and Theory
Limited preview - 1985
affect the dependent analysis appropriate association assume assumption asymmetrical basic cause blacks Boyle's law causal forces causal linkage causal principles causal proposition causal variable Central Place Theory ceteris paribus changes chapter characteristics cities conclusion conditional statements consequences Contamination context control procedures control variable approach controls are applied counterfactual conditional data set dependent variable desegregation determine earlier empirical research example exist experiment experimental explain explanandum factors given goal groups income gap independent influence initial irreversible issue lead Lieberson means nonexperimental nonrandom observed occur operating opposite direction outcome outmigration parents percent possible private schools problem public schools quasi-experimental quasi-experimental research question racial random assignment reasonable regression relevant reversible sex ratio shift simply simulation situation social science society specific statistical superficial causes taken into account theoretical theory tion true relationship undoable unmeasured selectivity variable of interest variance variation white flight