Theory Construction and Model-Building Skills

A Practical Guide for Social Scientists

James Jaccard and Jacob Jacoby

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
December 22, 2009
ISBN 9781606233405
Price: $105.00 $89.25
391 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
December 23, 2009
ISBN 9781606233399
Price: $50.00 $42.50
391 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
March 1, 2011
Price: $50.00 $42.50
391 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (PDF) ?
Price: $100.00 $55.00
391 Pages
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Download an e-book copy now or order a print copy

A new edition will be published January 27, 2020.
Read the Series Editor’s Note by founding editor David A. Kenny
“This book is aimed to provide social scientists with hand-on tools for defining concepts and formalizing theories. It is particularly addressed to graduate students and it ranges from causal analysis to mathematical modeling, from simulation to grounded and emergent approaches to theory construction. It is well organized, includes many simple and effective examples, and has a very clear setup. At the end of each chapter, the authors provide a summary, concluding comments, and suggested readings. The latter are complemented by a sentence about the content of each referenced literature, which is very helpful to find the respective reference of interest. Above, an index with key terms of each chapter and intuitive exercises to deepen the understanding of it are provided. Doing so, the book is very suitable for didactical purpose, in particular for research courses to graduate students. The effective, easy-to-understand, and straightforward style of writing is noticeable since from the first pages of the book....The book is highly recommendable for social science students, is a good lecture for young and open minded researchers, and locates simulation at the core of the scientific endeavour.”

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Stimulation

“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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