Ideal Type

Max Weber argued that no scientific method could reveal all of reality or do justice to the diversity of particular phenomena. He developed the construct of the ideal type to deal with the dilemma created by using constructs that are too general and thus devoid of specifics or using constructs that are so particularized as to defy general application. The ideal type is not ideal in a normative sense, nor is it an average of all instances of a phenomenon; rather, it is a constructed ideal that approximates reality by selecting elements and characteristics of the phenomena. In evaluation, examples of ideal types are program, treatment, intervention, and stakeholder.


Further Reading

Weber, M.(1949)The methodology of the social sciences(E.Shils & H.Finch, Eds.). New York: Free Press.
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