Scientists develop explanations and/or predictions of very specific phenomena. For instance, sociologists want to know why there was a revolution in Eastern Germany or why there was a bubble on the housing market in the US. Our explanations, however, are based on very general theories about the general behavior of individuals and social systems. These general theories need to be applied to the specific research problem. In this course, students learn how this is done in a scientifically correct way. Based on many examples from the social-scientific literature, we discuss how theories should be formulated and how they are applied in a logically correct way.
This bachelor course provides answers to the following questions:
- How to explain a phenomenon (deductive-nomological model)?
- What is a logically correct explanation?
- How to explain a group phenomenon based on theories about individual behavior?
- How to formulate and analyze a theoretical model?