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Statistical Models And Mechanisms Of Social Processes

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the requirements of sociological theory for the integration of theory and observation. It argues that theory that focuses on explaining how change is brought about is most likely to produce a fruitful integration of theory and research. These are then theories that focus on specifying mechanisms for change in social processes. They come in two types, as the chapter argues: push and pull theories, or causal and rational choice theories. Both types of theories can and should be represented in models for how change occurs. The chapter emphasizes the importance of modeling theoretical ideas abut how change comes about when studying social processes and the unfortunate consequences of taking ad hoc statistical models as models of substantive processes.

Keywords: pull theories; push theories; social processes; sociological theory; statistical models



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