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On Social Research and Its Language

Edited and with an Introduction by Raymond Boudon
Without Paul F. Lazarsfeld the social sciences would not be what they are today. In his ground-breaking work on unemployment, voting, consumer behavior, and social influence, among other subjects, his methodological emphasis on vigorously controlled scientific language and structures transformed social research worldwide.

Lazarsfeld’s systematic criticism of observational, conceptual, and inferential procedures in sociology led to the the formation of universally applied observational and analytical techniques, such as the panel design of observation and contextual and multivariate analysis. His methodology for empirical social research had a profound effect on all the social sciences.

The eighteen essays in On Social Research and Its Language illustrate the diversity of Lazarsfeld’s substantive, methodological, and organizational interests. Spanning the years 1933 to 1972, they encompass his own works of social research, as well as writings on methodology and the history and sociology of social research. Articles on methodology—observing, classifying and building typologies, analyzing the relations between variables, qualitative analysis, and macrosociology—form the bulk of the book. In addition, Raymond Boudon provides a revealing biography of Lazarsfeld and his influence on sociology.

These classic writings by a formative figure of modern social science will be an indispensable reference for scholars across the historical and social science disciplines.

342 pages | 13 line drawings, 37 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1993

Heritage of Sociology Series

Sociology: General Sociology, History of Sociology

Table of Contents

I. Substantive Social Research
1. On Unemployment
Response to Deprivation
2. On Communication
Audience Research
3. On Consumer Behavior
The Analysis of Consumer Actions
4. On Voting
Political Perception
5. On the Academic Mind
Social Scientists and Recent Threats to Academic Freedom
Methodology of Social Research
6. Observing
The Controversy over Detailed Interviews: An Offer for Negotiation
Problems of Survey Analysis
The Use of Panels in Social Research
7. Classifying and Building Typologies
Some Remarks on Typological Procedures in Social Research
A Digression on Disposition Concepts
8. Analyzing the Relations between Variables
On the Relation between Individual and Collective Properties
Mutual Relations over Time of Two Attributes: A Review and Integration of Various Approaches
9. Qualitative Analysis
Some Functions of Qualitative Analysis in Social Research
10. Macrosociology
11. The Relevance of Methodology
Methodological Problems in Empirical Social Research
III. History and Sociology of Social Research
12. Sociology of Social Research
The Sociology of Empirical Social Research
13. History of Social Research
Notes on the History of Quantification in Sociology: Trends, Sources, and Problems
Max Weber and Empirical Social Research
The Writings of Paul F. Lazarfeld
Name and Title Index
Subject Index

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