Click 'Additional Materials' to read the foreword by Jerald Hage
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.
How to Build Social Science Theories is a sophisticated yet readable analysis presented by internationally known experts in social science methodology. It is designed primarily as a core text for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in communication theory. It will also be a perfect addition to any course dealing with theory and research methodology across the social sciences. Additionally, professional researchers will find it an indispensable guide to the genesis, dissemination, and evaluation of social science theories.