Theory Construction and Model-Building Skills, First Edition

Theory Construction and Model-Building Skills, First Edition : A Practical Guide for Social Scientists

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Meeting a crucial need for graduate students and newly minted researchers, this innovative text provides hands-on tools for generating ideas and translating them into formal theories. It is illustrated with numerous practical examples drawn from multiple social science disciplines and research settings. The authors offer clear guidance for defining constructs, thinking through relationships and processes that link constructs, and deriving new theoretical models (or building on existing ones) based on those relationships. Step by step, they show readers how to use causal analysis, mathematical modeling, simulations, and grounded and emergent approaches to theory construction. A chapter on writing about theories contains invaluable advice on crafting effective papers and grant applications.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 391 pages
  • 178 x 254 x 18.54mm | 700g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1606233394
  • 9781606233399
  • 397,430

Table of contents

I. BASIC CONCEPTS1. IntroductionOrganization of the BookTheories and Settings2. The Nature of UnderstandingThe Nature of RealityHow Reality Is ExperiencedConcepts: The Building Blocks of UnderstandingThe Nature of ConceptsConcepts, Constructs, and VariablesConceptual Systems: The Bases for Deeper UnderstandingCommunicationSummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercises3. Science as an Approach to UnderstandingSocially Based Approaches to UnderstandingCommonalities across All Shared Conceptual ApproachesSpecial Features of the Scientific ApproachThe Essentials of Scientific EndeavorThe Process of Theory ConstructionWhat Is a Theory?Theories, Models, and HypothesesTypes of TheoriesThe Role of Theory in Basic versus Applied ResearchCharacteristics of a Good TheoryScience and ObjectivitySummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercisesII. Core Processes4. Creativity and the Generation of IdeasIntroductionOne Small Step for ScienceCreativityThe Creative PersonCreative IdeasThe Creative ProcessDeciding to Be CreativePractical Implications for Theory ConstructionChoosing What to Theorize AboutLiterature ReviewsHeuristics for Generating IdeasIdea Generation and Grounded/Emergent TheorizingTwenty-Six HeuristicsWhen the Focus Is on Basic Mental or Biological ProcessesScientists on Scientific TheorizingSummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercises5. Focusing ConceptsThe Process of InstantiationThe Nature of Conceptual DefinitionsShared Meaning, Surplus Meaning, and Nomological NetworksPractical Strategies for Specifying Conceptual DefinitionsMultidimensional ConstructsCreating ConstructsAn Example of Specifying Conceptual DefinitionsOperationismSummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercises6. Clarifying Relationships Using Thought ExperimentsThought Experiments for Relationships in Grounded and Emergent TheoryDescribing Relationships with Different Types of VariablesThought Experiments for Relationships between Categorical VariablesCategorical Variables with Two LevelsCategorical Variables with More Than Two LevelsThought Experiments for Relationships between Quantitative VariablesScatterplotsCharacteristics of Linear RelationshipsNonlinear RelationshipsWhen Nonlinear Relationships Are LinearA Thought Experiment with Hypothetical ScatterplotsThought Experiments for Relationships between Categorical and Quantitative VariablesThought Experiments for a Categorical Cause and a Quantitative Effect: The Use of Hypothetical MeansThought Experiments for a Quantitative Cause and a Categorical Effect: The Use of Hypothetical ProbabilitiesThought Experiments for Moderated RelationshipsThought Experiments Using Hypothetical Factorial DesignsHypothetical Factorial Designs with More Than Two LevelsHypothetical Factorial Designs with Quantitative VariablesHypothetical Scatterplots and Quantitative VariablesSummary for Moderated RelationshipsBroader Uses of Hypothetical Factorial Designs in Thought ExperimentsRelationships Characterized by Main EffectsRelationships Characterized by Simple Main EffectsRelationships Characterized by Interaction ContrastsChoice of the Moderator VariableSummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercisesAPPENDIX 6A. Thought Experiments for a Quantitative Cause and Categorical Effect: A Hypothetical Contingency Table MethodAPPENDIX 6B. Thought Experiments for Moderated ModerationIII. Frameworks for Theory Construction7. Causal ModelsTwo Types of Relationships: Predictive and CausalPredictive RelationshipsCausal RelationshipsCausality and Grounded/Emergent TheoryTypes of Causal RelationshipsConstructing Theories with Causal RelationshipsIdentifying Outcome VariablesIdentifying Direct CausesIndirect Causal RelationshipsTurning Direct Relationships into Indirect RelationshipsPartial Mediation versus Complete MediationAn Alternative Strategy for Turning Direct Effects into Indirect EffectsThe Essence of MediationModerated Causal RelationshipsMediated ModerationModerated MediationModerated ModerationSummary of Moderated RelationshipsReciprocal or Bidirectional CausalityThere Is No Such Thing as Simultaneous Reciprocal CausalityFeedback Loops: Adding Mediators to Reciprocal CausationModerated Reciprocal CausationSpurious RelationshipsAdding Additional OutcomesAdding Effects of EffectsSpecifying Causal Relationships between Existing VariablesSummary of Additional Steps That May Create SpuriousnessUnanalyzed RelationshipsExpanding the Theory FurtherTemporal DynamicsDisturbance TermsLatent Variables, Structural Theory, and Measurement TheoryRevisiting Your Literature ReviewSome Final StepsPerspectives on the Construction of Causal TheoriesPath Diagrams as Theoretical PropositionsA Note on Research Design and Statistical AnalysisElaborating the Logic Underlying Each PathThe Use of Causal Analysis in Grounded/Emergent TheorizingSummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercises8. Mathematical ModelsTypes of Variables: Categorical, Discrete, and ContinuousAxioms and TheoremsFunctionsLinear FunctionsThe Slope and InterceptDeterministic versus Stochastic ModelsModel ParametersAdjustable Parameters and Parameter EstimationRates and Change: Derivatives and DifferentiationInstantaneous ChangeSecond and Third DerivativesDescribing Accumulation: Integrals and IntegrationJust-Identified, Overidentified, and Underidentified ModelsMetricsTypes of NonlinearityLogarithmic FunctionsExponential FunctionsPower FunctionsPolynomial FunctionsTrigonomic FunctionsChoosing a FunctionFunctions for Categorical VariablesAdvanced Topics: Manipulating and Combining FunctionsFunction TransformationsCombining FunctionsMultiple Variable FunctionsPhases in Building a Mathematical ModelAn Example Using Performance, Ability, and MotivationAn Example Using Cognitive AlgebraAn Example Using Attitude ChangeAn Example Using a Traditional Causal ModelChaos TheoryCatastrophe TheoryAdditional Examples of Mathematical Models in the Social SciencesEmergent Theory Construction and Mathematical ModelsSummary and Concluding CommentsAPPENDIX 8A. SPSS Code for Exploring Distribution PropertiesAPPENDIX 8B. Additional Modeling Issues for the Performance, Motivation, and Ability ExampleSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercises9. Simulation as a Theory Development MethodDefining SimulationsThe Uses of Research SimulationsThe Difference between Simulation and Laboratory ExperimentsBasic Simulation VarietiesAll-Machine versus Person-Machine SimulationsDescriptive versus Analytic SimulationsReal-Time versus Compressed-Time versus Expanded-Time SimulationsDeterministic versus Nondeterministic SimulationsFree versus Experimental SimulationsMacro- versus MicrosimulationsContent-Oriented SimulationThe Analysis of Criterion Systems as a Basis for Theory ConstructionSimulation of Information Accessing in Consumer Purchase DecisionsVirtual Environments and AvatarsSimulations and Virtual ExperimentsAgent-Based ModelingResources for Conducting SimulationsSummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercises10. Grounded and Emergent TheoryGrounded and Emergent Theory: An OverviewPositivism "versus" ConstructivismFraming the ProblemThe Role of Past LiteratureCollecting Qualitative DataArchival RecordsDirect ObservationStructured and Unstructured Interviews and SurveysFocus GroupsVirtual EthnographiesDirective Qualitative MethodsMixed-Methods ResearchMemo WritingTheoretical SamplingAnalyzing and Coding DataAn Example from AnthropologyThe Statistical Exploration of RelationshipsProcess Analysis in Emergent TheorizingMoving to Theoretical Statements: Using Principles of RhetoricDeduction, Induction, and AbductionToulmin's Model of ArgumentationWeak ArgumentsAPPENDIX 10A. The Limits of Information ProcessingSummary and Concluding CommentsSuggested ReadingsKey TermsExercises11. Historically Influential Systems of ThoughtGrand TheoriesMaterialismStructuralismFunctionalismSymbolic InteractionismEvolutionary PerspectivesPostmodernism: A Critical Commentary on Grand TheoriesFrameworks Using MetaphorsNeural NetworksSystems TheoryFrameworks Emphasizing Stability and ChangePsychological FrameworksRei
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Review quote

"This much-needed book fills a gap in the social science literature. The text provides clear examples of how researchers and graduate students can formulate conceptual models, grapple with issues of measurement, and choose the most appropriate data-analytic methods for their conceptual frameworks. The authors have done an exceptional job of providing detailed instruction in the formulation and development of strong theories of behavior. Jaccard and Jacoby have written a high-quality, clear, and useful text. I highly recommend this text for graduate-level research courses and for applied researchers focused on the development of rigorous theoretical frameworks."--Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, PhD, LCSW, Columbia University School of Social Work "I know of no better introduction to theory development and hypothesis testing in the social sciences. Jaccard and Jacoby pull off an impressive high-wire act: they explore the conceptual underpinnings of science while providing lots of good, practical advice; they cover a wide range of approaches while avoiding oversimplification; and they offer an epistemologically principled yet inclusive vision of what social science is and could be."--Philip E. Tetlock, PhD, Mitchell Endowed Chair, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley "Too often, students just study the writings and theories of others, and are left on their own when it comes to developing theory directly relevant to their research problems. Jaccard and Jacoby have written a wonderful, practical guide to help budding and experienced social scientists do just that. The book is clearly written and well organized. It would make an excellent text for graduate students from a variety of social science fields."--Kenneth A. Bollen, PhD, H. R. Immerwahr Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director, Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill "Filling an important gap, this book is very well written and impressive in its coverage. It is the perfect text for early-career graduate students in sociology, organizational studies, education, and psychology. I highly recommend it for graduate-level courses such as Research Methods, The Nature of Scientific Inquiry, and Research Practicum, and I will use it with my graduate students."--Elif Andac, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas "Outstanding. The authors explain abstract ideas in impressively straightforward and understandable language, and the self-study materials at the end of each chapter are well formulated. I urge any scientist who is designing a program of research to spend some time using the tools in this book."--Thomas A. Cornille, PhD, Department of Family and Child Sciences, Florida State University "An excellent book on how to develop theory in the social sciences. It is mainly oriented toward quantitative reasoning and models, but there are valuable ideas and strategies for qualitative research as well. It is very readable and contains helpful exercises and examples."--Joseph Maxwell, PhD, Graduate School of Education, George Mason University "This book's pages will become worn and tattered as graduate students, professors, and researchers across the social sciences refer to it repeatedly to inform their efforts to do theoretically engaged empirical research."--Richard Tardanico, PhD, Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Florida International University "This book will help you think about the work you do in a different way. It will tighten up your own thinking as well as how you present your theoretical models to others. It will enable you to write better grant proposals, and could help make the difference between a fundable score and a nonfundable score."--Rob Turrisi, PhD, Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University
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About Professor James Jaccard PhD

James Jaccard is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute for Child Health and Development at Florida International University in Miami. Previously, he was Distinguished Professor of Psychology for 20 years at the State University of New York, Albany. Dr. Jaccard has authored or edited 11 books and over 200 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has served on numerous boards and panels for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and the National Institutes of Health and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. His research focuses broadly on attitudes, cognitions, and emotions as they affect decision making, especially in applied settings. This includes research on adolescent decision making, health-related decisions, and a critical analysis of the effects of unconscious influences on adult decision making. Jacob Jacoby is Merchants Council Professor of Consumer Behavior at New York University's Stern School of Business. He has authored or edited six books and over 160 articles in peer-reviewed social science and law journals. Dr. Jacoby is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a Fellow and past president of the Association for Consumer Research. His research on the factors that affect consumer decision making and behavior has been honored by awards from the American Psychological Association, the American Marketing Association, the American Academy of Advertising, the Association for Consumer Research, and the Society for Consumer Psychology. He has conducted research or consulted for dozens of Fortune 500 companies and other organizations. He has also worked for federal agencies (including the U.S. Senate, Federal Trade Commission, and Food and Drug Administration) and testified in more than 100 cases heard in U.S. District Courts.
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Rating details

44 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 41% (18)
4 32% (14)
3 23% (10)
2 2% (1)
1 2% (1)
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