- Subject index
Making Sense of Statistical Methods in Social Research is a critical introduction to the use of statistical methods in social research. It provides a unique approach to statistics that concentrates on helping social researchers think about the conceptual basis for the statistical methods they're using.
Whereas other statistical methods books instruct students in how to get through the statistics-based elements of their chosen course with as little mathematical knowledge as possible, this book aims to improve students' statistical literacy, with the ultimate goal of turning them into competent researchers.
Making Sense of Statistical Methods in Social Research contains careful discussion of the conceptual foundation of statistical methods, specifying what questions they can, or cannot, answer. The logic of each statistical method or procedure is explained, drawing on ...
Chapter Eleven: Causal Analysis
Statistics and the Challenge of Studying Causal Relations
Establishing causal relations between two phenomena in the English philosophical tradition is a mission impossible (Hume, 1975; Russell, 1963). In contrast, social scientists see the study of causal relations as the most important achievement (MacIver, 1942; Abbott, 2004; Stinchcombe, 2005; Cartwright, 2007), and their desire to find causality is motivated by at least three potential benefits. First, causal explanation is believed to transcend time and space and therefore has a much wider scope of applications. Second, causal connections constitute the ...