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Abductive Analysis

Theorizing Qualitative Research

In Abductive Analysis, Iddo Tavory and Stefan Timmermans provide a new navigational map for theorizing qualitative research. They outline a way to think about observations, methods, and theories that nurtures theory formation without locking it into predefined conceptual boxes. The book provides novel ways to approach the challenges that plague qualitative researchers across the social sciences—how to conceptualize causality, how to manage the variation of observations, and how to leverage the researcher’s community of inquiry.  Abductive Analysis is a landmark work that shows how a pragmatist approach provides a productive and fruitful way to conduct qualitative research.

176 pages | 2 halftones, 3 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2014

Philosophy: American Philosophy

Sociology: General Sociology, Methodology, Statistics, and Mathematical Sociology, Theory and Sociology of Knowledge


“Thick description is no longer enough! Tacking back and forth from data to theorizing that data, thoughtful and systematic abduction enables the creative unfolding of a project, opening the researcher to precious moments of analytic surprise. Abductive Analysis is a major contribution to both the pragmatist renaissance and the transnational turn toward theorizing in qualitative research.”

Adele Clarke | University of California, San Francisco

“In Abductive Analysis, Iddo Tavory and Stefan Timmermans make a case that the thought of pragmatist philosopher Charles S. Peirce—specifically, his theories of hypothetical reasoning and semiotics—can be used to guide and improve qualitative research. Every qualitatively-minded sociologist should consider their strong, well-crafted argument.”

Neil Gross | University of British Columbia

“In this ground-breaking book, Tavory and Timmermans open a new direction for qualitative inquiry that cuts across current internal divisions and debates.  By reframing the logic and process of making sense of data within a pragmatic approach, they give new life to the craft of theorizing. Thoughtful and intellectually exciting, Abductive Analysis is both inspired and inspiring.”

Diane Vaughan | Columbia University

“This is a well-crafted, beautifully written, and nicely organized book that seeks to take the task of qualitative social science methods—especially ethnographic methods in anthropology and sociology—to new levels of sophistication.”

Sharon Kaufman | University of California, San Francisco

Table of Contents

Introduction: Toward Abductive Analysis

1: The Alternatives

2: Semiotics and the Research Act

3: Abduction and Multiple Theories

4: Abduction and Method

5: Variation and Consequences-in-Action

6: Causality

7: The Community of Inquiry

Conclusions: Abductive Analysis


Appendix: Synopsis of Abductive Analysis




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