The Logic of Social Research
Contents: 1. Methods for Sociology and Related Disciplines. 2. Distances as Central to Causal Reasoning and Methods. 3. The Basic Structure of Economy in Social Research. 4. Using Data to Refine Concepts of Distances between Units of Analysis. 5. Refining Concepts about Contexts. 6. Units of Analysis and Mechanisms: Turning Causes into Effects. 7. Testing Theories by Testing Hypotheses with Data. 8. Improving Theories with Data. Arthur L. Stinchcombe has earned a reputation as a leading practitioner of methodology in sociology and related disciplines. Throughout his distinguished career he has championed the idea that to be an effective sociologist, one must use many methods. This incisive work introduces students to the logic of those methods. The Logic of Social Research orients students to a set of logical problems that all methods must address to study social causation. Almost all sociological theory asserts that some social conditions produce other social conditions, but the theoretical links between causes and effects are not easily supported by observation. Observations cannot directly show causation, but they can reject or support causal theories with different degrees of credibility. As a result, sociologists have created four main types of methods that Stinchcombe terms quantitative, historical, ethnographic, and experimental to support their theories. Each method has value, and each has its uses for different research purposes. Accessible and astute, The Logic of Social Research offers an image of what sociology is, what it’s all about, and what the craft of the sociologist consists of.