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 statements need theoretical linkages and operational linkages; this discussion begins with bivariate relationships, as well as three-variable, four-variable, and further multivariate relationships.  The authors also devote chapters to the creative component of theory-building and how to evaluate theories.

Theoretical Statements Relating Two Variables

Theoretical statements relating two variables

We said in the previous chapter that a hypothesis must be made up of at least two variables; a hypothesis expresses the relationship between two or more variables. We also referred to assumptions and propositions. In this chapter, we look at the relations between two variables more closely and distinguish among several types of theoretical statements.

Hage (1972) suggested that the term theoretical statement be used to describe more broadly the relationship between variables, encompassing such terms as assumption, hypothesis, postulate, proposition, theorem, and axiom. In this book, we will use three of the more specific terms—assumption, hypothesis, and proposition—with theoretical statement being used generally to describe all three.

A theoretical statement says something about the values of ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles