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INTEGRATION OF RESEARCH AND THEORY IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF JOHN GOLDTHORPE

  • DAVID D. LAITIN (a1)

Extract

THIS REMARKABLE COLLECTION of (mostly reprinted) essays is first and foremost a defense of the statistically-based research program that has motivated Professor Goldthorpe's work through a distinguished career. In defending the statistical methodology that has become a standard in his corner of sociology, he also sets sharp limits to what can be contributed through qualitative methods. He then offers a challenge for future statistical analysts to address more directly that program's theoretical foundations. The dozen essays range widely in questions of methods and substance — in this review I provide no general summary but rather highlight a dual plea he makes to his profession: to marry macro statistical work to micro theory; and to press colleagues who engage in case study, historical, and ethnographic work to think more rigorously about what inferences can be correctly drawn from their low-n studies.

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John H. GOLDTHORPE, On Sociology: Numbers, Narratives, and the Integration of Research and Theory (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, vi + 337 p.).

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