Primer in Theory Construction : An A&B Classics Edition book cover
1st Edition

Primer in Theory Construction
An A&B Classics Edition

ISBN 9780205501281
Published April 26, 2006 by Routledge
208 Pages

SAVE ~ $10.59
was $52.95
USD $42.36

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

View More



Paul Davidson Reynolds has been the author or co-author of five books; seven edited collections; 42 research reports and monographs; 85 peer review journal articles and book chapters; eight data sets placed in public archives; and over two hundred presentations to professional and policy audiences. He served  as the director of the Babson Research Conference from 1996 to 2000 and as co-director of the George Washington University-ICSB research conference from 2010 to 2012. In 2004 he received the annual Swedish International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research and in 2012 the Dedication to Entrepreneurship (Research) Award from the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division.