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Making Social Sciences More ScientificThe Need for Predictive Models$
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Rein Taagepera

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199534661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199534661.001.0001

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From Descriptive to Predictive Approaches

From Descriptive to Predictive Approaches

Chapter:
(p.187) 14 From Descriptive to Predictive Approaches
Source:
Making Social Sciences More Scientific
Author(s):

Rein Taagepera (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199534661.003.0014

Routine statistical approaches are essentially descriptive, giving answers within a narrow range of questions. Quantitatively formulated logical model force us to ask further questions and are predictive in an explanatory way. Descriptive approaches are not conducive to detection of social laws, especially if one simultaneously feeds in variables which actually connect sequentially. Rather than a single sequence of “hypothesis testing,” scientific procedure involves repeat cycles where predictive and descriptive approaches enter intermixed. Directional models and reams of numbers ground out by canned computer programs must make room for quantitative logical models and sparse conceptually grounded constants.

Keywords:   canned computer programs, conceptually grounded constants, descriptive approaches, hypothesis testing, logical models, predictive approaches, sequential variables, social laws

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