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Description - Sociological Practice by Derek Layder

What can be done about the gap between theory and empirical research? Should sociologists worry that this gap exists? This study argues for a better understanding of the links between theory and research, and provides an analysis of the relationship between the two. Layder suggests ways of integrating theory and research, and develops strategies for bringing them closer together. He attempts to demystify the process of theorizing, arguing that theorizing is an inherently creative activity and should be considered an indispensable feature of social research. Layder places his discussion within the context of current social theory and the philosophy of social science, and seeks to develop clear usable strategies to encourage theory development in the practical context of social research. He also introduces "adaptive theory" which can be used to generated new theory as well as develop existing theory in conjunction with empirical research. He concludes by providing an outline of new rules of sociological method which show how adaptive theory can be put into practice.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780761954309
ISBN-10: 0761954309
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: SAGE Publications Inc
Publisher: SAGE Publications Inc
Publish Date: 4-Sep-1998
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Derek Layder

In the area of social theory I am interested in how agency and structure combine in social life. In relation to this I have developed the 'theory of social domains' which represents my own attempt to deal with the agency-structure problem. I have also developed a methodological approach called 'adaptive theory'. This attempts to harness the creative synergy between 'received' (or 'preconceived') and 'emergent' theory, but also depends on a close connection between the construction of explanatory theory and the collection of empirical data. My ongoing interests are in drawing out the links between the 'theory of social domains' and 'adaptive theory' in the context of empirical research. With these objectives in mind I have recently completed studies of self-identity, emotion, intimacy, and power and control in social life.

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