- Subject index
As straightforward as its title, How to Build Social Science Theories sidesteps the well-traveled road of theoretical examination by demonstrating how new theories originate and how they are elaborated. Essential reading for students of social science research, this book traces theories from their most rudimentary building blocks (terminology and definitions) through multivariable theoretical statements, models, the role of creativity in theory building, and how theories are used and evaluated. Authors Pamela J. Shoemaker, James William Tankard, Jr., and Dominic L. Lasorsa intend to improve research in many areas of the social sciences by making research more theory-based and theory-oriented. The book begins with a discussion of concepts and their theoretical and operational definitions. It then proceeds to theoretical statements, including hypotheses, assumptions, and propositions. Theoretical ...
Chapter 2: Theoretical Concepts: The Building Blocks of Theory
Theoretical Concepts: The Building Blocks of Theory
Concepts are the building blocks of theories—the things being studied, compared, and related to one another. A concept is an abstraction that describes a portion of reality. It is a general name for specific instances of the phenomenon described. For example, the concept education (a generalization) describes the aggregate of people's specific learning experiences. The concept mass media use (a generalization) describes the aggregate of individuals' specific reading, viewing, and listening behaviors with the mass media.
Constructs, Concepts, and Variables
The terms construct and concept are sometimes used interchangeably, with one scholar referring to a term as a concept, and another as a construct. Differences in the use of the terms construct and concept ...