Theory-Building and Data Analysis in the Social Sciences

Asher, Herbert B.

In recognition of the changing nature of the political science discipline and the increased demands placed upon social scientists in the area of research methodology, the American Journal of Political Science under the editorship of John Kessel instituted in its February 1974 issue a special Workshop section devoted to articles describing research procedures in terms understandable to the broader social science profession. This section remains a distinctive feature of AJPS. About forty articles have now been published in the Workshop section under the editorships of John Kessel, Phil Shively, ourselves, and now Bob Erikson, articles spanning the research process, from its philosophy of science underpinnings and the role of formal theory to a variety of methods of data analysis. This first volume of Workshop articles consists of ten pieces originally published during Kessel's editorship. They were chosen for reprinting here because together they cover central concerns of social science research. Part I of the book includes articles on theory building, with sections on philosophy of science and on formal political theory. Part II of the book emphasizes data analysis, with sections on measures of association, regression analysis, and scaling techniques. Additionally, we have written four new essays to present background material which supplements the Workshop articles. These essays also include some updated references relevant to the Workshop articles. It is naturally impossible to cover all appropriate topics and new analysis procedures in one volume; the interested reader is invited to check through the continuing series of Workshop articles in the American Journal of Political Science for presentations on other topics

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