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A primer in theory construction

Author: Paul Davidson Reynolds
Publisher: New York : Macmillan ; London : Collier Macmillan, 1986?, ©1971.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats

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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Paul Davidson Reynolds
ISBN: 0023996005 9780023996009
OCLC Number: 15602442
Notes: Includes indexes.
Description: 184 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
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 Internal Level. The Ratio Level. General Comments on Quantification.Summary and Conclusion.4. Statements.Existence Statements.Relational Statements. Associational Statements. Causal Statements. Deterministic and Probabilistic Statements.Level 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 Causal 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.Statistical 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-Then-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.Appendix: Student Exercises.Comments.Assignment I: 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.
Responsibility: Paul Davidson Reynolds.


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