Political Science

Theory and Credibility: Integrating Theoretical and Empirical Social Science

A clear and comprehensive framework for bridging the widening gap between theorists and empiricists in social science


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Jul 20, 2021
6.13 x 9.25 in.
29 b/w illus. 20 tables.
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The credibility revolution, with its emphasis on empirical methods for causal inference, has led to concerns among scholars that the canonical questions about politics and society are being neglected because they are no longer deemed answerable. Theory and Credibility stakes out an opposing view—presenting a new vision of how, working together, the credibility revolution and formal theory can advance social scientific inquiry.

This authoritative book covers the conceptual foundations and practicalities of both model building and research design, providing a new framework to link theory and empirics. Drawing on diverse examples from political science, it presents a typology of the rich set of interactions that are possible between theory and empirics. This typology opens up new ways for scholars to make progress on substantive questions, and enables researchers from disparate traditions to gain a deeper appreciation for each other’s work and why it matters.

Theory and Credibility shows theorists how to create models that are genuinely useful to empirical inquiry, and helps empiricists better understand how to structure their research in ways that speak to theoretically meaningful questions.