This also may help readers become more creative and extensive in developing theories about families, as they are exposed to issues and perspectives either directly or indirectly affecting families that may receive little attention in formalized coursework. Because empirical testing is, according to Jaccard and Jacoby, theory construction's final step followed by refinement of the theory , the authors recommend that quantitatively and qualitatively minded researchers read the book in different orders—essentially this book has two tables of contents. Description 1 online resource xx, 391 pages : illustrations. In some regards, such efforts on their part helps separate Theory Construction from other social science texts and, more specifically, family science texts, which in our experience often remain tied too closely to scholars championing their own epistemological framework. This general overview of influential thought systems thus provides social scientists a road map for navigating their research travels, which may be useful for readers before they begin to construct theory. .
Albeit unorthodox, the authors' suggestion for mathematical modelers and grounded and emergent theorists to collaborate as a multidisciplinary team is, nevertheless, refreshing. 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. Readers who acknowledge the emergence of both positivist and postpositivist, qualitative and quantitative, approaches to research and theory construction as essential to the overall growth of family science are likely to have an added appreciation for this text. It is the perfect text for early-career graduate students in sociology, organizational studies, education, and psychology. It will tighten up your own thinking as well as how you present your theoretical models to others. Because the legitimacy of these methods in family science has been questioned, beginners in the process of theory construction need a clear understanding of the potential critique they can receive if they use this method.
For many students and new professionals, generating ideas can be the most perplexing task of theory development. Their appreciation for each method is evidenced by chapters devoted to mathematical modeling and to grounded and emergent theory methods, a rather rare occurrence in social science research and theory texts. Jaccard and Jacoby recognize the gap between theory and research in the social sciences and efficiently provide readers with the basic principles necessary to generate theory suited for empirical testing. Awareness of these theories and their unique contributions to social science equips readers with different frameworks for thinking about theory from a multitude of perspectives, which they can then use as they seek to find meaning in the methods for creating theory located in other portions of the text. Their consideration of readers who prefer to work from one of these two methods also demonstrates Jaccard and Jacoby's awareness of a diverse readership and their appreciation of both methodologies.
Presented efficiently, the chapter proves quite accessible and useful for those with little working knowledge of qualitative research in general or grounded theory more specifically. 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. Referring to these strategies as thought experiments, the authors suggest creating contingency tables, scatterplots, and factorial designs that are hypothetical in nature but help the theorist examine the various relationships between variables and concepts. Other Considerations Finally, Theory Construction offers a helpful guide for students and early career professionals wishing to disseminate their theories to a larger audience. Therefore, many of the examples used throughout the book come from other disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, marketing, and organizational studies. It is illustrated with numerous practical examples drawn from multiple social science disciplines and research settings. Although considerable attention is given to such practices throughout the text, Jaccard and Jacoby also provide useful commentary and figures in the appendices that demonstrate how one would test causal relationships empirically.
Series Title: Responsibility: James Jaccard, Jacob Jacoby. 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. Although it is not without some shortcomings for family scientists, the book is a highly useful, accessible, and practical introduction to theory construction and model building for students and scholars alike. Step by step, they show readers how to use causal analysis, mathematical. Manuscript guidelines found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, for instance, suggest outlines for constructing empirical research manuscripts but not for manuscripts presenting theory.
Graduate students who have a working knowledge of essential theories in social science and previous knowledge of grounded theory from qualitative research courses may not benefit from some basic chapters. Step by step, they show readers how to use causal analysis, mathematical modeling, simulations, and grounded and emergent approaches to theory construction. The useful writing guide presented in Theory Construction assists theorists in intentionally matching their manuscript to the purpose and manner in which the theory was developed. The text may help students see the connections among generating theoretical ideas, designing studies to test those theories, and analyzing the data in ways that evaluate the usefulness of the theory. This final chapter seems most appropriate for an audience of students, and in some respects, these pages can supplement undergraduate research courses that cover formats for research papers and reports. It is illustrated with numerous practical examples drawn from multiple social science disciplines and research settings.
Grounded and Emergent Theory A chapter devoted to grounded and emergent theory provides readers with a necessary and concise overview of this approach and its implications for theory construction. Generating Ideas Even students immersed in the family theory literature are often unsure of how to begin developing theory. 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. It is very readable and contains helpful exercises and examples. Briefly, these heuristics include analyzing one's own experiences; using analogies and metaphors; shifting the unit and level of analysis; delving into unconventional works, such as biographies and literature not readily associated with the social sciences; and as they so humorously put, consulting your grandmother and proving her wrong. A more concise overview of grounded and emergent theory is beyond the scope of the book, however, and students and instructors may find the suggested reading list a helpful starting point more specific and advanced guidance with grounded theory. However, such chapters can expose students to theories used in the social sciences outside of the family field or can easily be omitted in lieu of more pertinent topics.
Although this discussion is presented in the latter half of the book, we suggest that readers, especially those not familiar with such thought systems, consider reading this general overview first. A chapter on writing about theories contains invaluable advice on crafting effective papers and grant applications. O verview of the B ook Presented in four parts—basic concepts, core processes, frameworks for theory construction, and concluding issues— Theory Construction takes the reader on a thorough, yet parsimonious, expedition into the realm of theory construction. Among others, these theories or thought systems include general systems theory, postmodernism, neural networks, evolutionary perspectives, symbolic interactionism, and positive psychology. 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.