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 Four or More Variables

Theoretical statements relating four or more variables

In this chapter, we cover why the theory builder might want to use more than three variables in a hypothesis and how to construct theoretical statements relating four or more variables. We will learn how to extend the three-variable strategy to these more complex systems, how to express such multivariate relationships in hypothesis form, and how to think about theoretical and operational linkages for the multivariate relationships of complex systems.

In building theory, the importance of well-expressed theoretical statements cannot be overemphasized. If formulated properly, theoretical statements help the theory builder stay focused on the task at hand. An added benefit is that clear theoretical statements help communicate to others what one is ...

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