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The Nature arid Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Common sense suggests that there are various kinds of facts, and that every field of inquiry selects distinctive kinds of facts for its focus. Biological sciences, for example, focus on bodily functions such as respiration, circulation, and metabolism in organisms and on the relations of organisms with their environments. Psychological sciences focus on drives, perceptions, beliefs, and other facts relating to personality. Sociology focuses on friend- ships, group memberships, social standings, and occupations. On closer examination, however, this compartmentalized view of academic disciplines is not an accurate one. The same fact or event can be of interest to a number of disciplines. Take a particular event the decision of a woman to seek a job outside the home. Most social scientists would be relatively uninterested in the particular decision of a particular woman but would formulate research questions in terms of accounting for why some women work outside the home while others do not and why women have been entering the labor force in increasing numbers in recent years. In addressing these questions, researchers in the different disciplines would tend to focus on different factors and would make use of different data; indeed, the definition of what constitutes data depends on the conceptualization of the problem. Economists might ask whether increases in the demand for labor have increased pay rates and would compare the value of potential income from employment with the value of the work women do at home and the value of their leisure. Sociologists might focus on changes in the kinds of jobs available to women and on family patterns that put the major responsibility for household maintenance on wives and encourage them to 8

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 9 defer to their husbands' career needs. Psychologists might ask what role work outside the household plays in a woman's self-image and sense of self- worth, how these feelings are created, and how they are changing. And demographers might concentrate on the effect of trends in the birth rate on the demand for particular goods and services and on the supply of labor. In short, what mainly distinguishes academic disciplines from one another is not that they focus on different kinds of facts but rather that they interpret the same facts within distinctive conceptual frameworks. So, while in what follows we speak of kinds of facts, it is important to remember that they are invoked as facts in the context of a certain conceptual framework. It is also important to realize that these conceptual frameworks are constantly changing, as a natural adjunct to the development of new knowledge, which creates the danger that any attempt to identify the core problems of each discipline will be immediately out of date. Moreover, these fields overlap substantially, and the same problems are often addressed by researchers from different disciplines. For example, the relationship between attitudes and behavior is a problem of social psychology, which is regarded as a subspecialty of both psychology and sociology; various questions regarding employment and earnings are of interest to both sociologists and economists; voting is studied by both political scientists and sociologists; and so on. Keeping these clarifications and caveats in mind, we proceed now to identify the central concerns of the individual behavioral and social science disciplines. THE BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE DISCIPLINES PSYCHOLOGY We begin with psychology, which can be defined as the scientific study of behavior. The term behavior is used broadly and includes all responses of humans (and other animals)-overt motor acts and physiological responses (such as heart beat and blood pressure) as well as mental events. Behavior includes both external, easily observable actions and events that can be inferred only indirectly from verbal reports or from physiological indicators, such as changes in heart rate. Psychologists study how behavior patterns are acquired, how they are maintained over time, how they are modified, how they are suppressed, abandoned, or forgotten, and how particular responses that are parts of these patterns occur under particular circumstances. Psycho- logical research tends to focus on the behavior of the individual organism tin the case of humans, the individual person-as the primary unit of analysis, in contrast to the social sciences, which tend to focus on relations among people (e.g., roles, the division of labor, power relationships) and on

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10 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I relational systems (e.g., market systems, governmental strategies, residential patterns). Over the past 50 years, psychology has grown rapidly and has become differentiated into a number of complementary specialties (although they overlap to some extent). The methods and approaches to studying behavior vary with the specialty. Psychologists who are interested in learning, for example, study behavior any behavior as it is influenced by repetition under different regimes of rewards and punishments. Psychologists who are interested in sensation and perception analyze how individuals perceive stimuli that impinge on their senses; the paper on psychophysics by Braida et al. (in Part II) illustrates this focus. Physiological psychologists attempt to explain behavioral regularities in terms of physiological and neurochemical processes and structures with a primary emphasis on brain-behavior relations. Cognitive psychologists view behavior as a consequence of internal processes that occur as the individual acquires, manipulates, and retains information; the paper on reading as a cognitive process by Carpenter and Just (in Part II) is an example of the cognitive focus. Other specialties employ the fundamental knowledge and methods of these fields to understand behavior in group settings (social psychology) and long-term changes in and stability of behavior (developmental and life-span psychology); an illustration of the latter is Nelson's paper on early cognitive development (in Part II). Personality psychologists and psychometricians investigate stable differences among individuals in their predispositions, skills, and abilities and develop diagnostic instruments for identifying psychopathology and psychological disability. Another field, psychometrics, largely overlaps with statistics; this area is described more fully in the section below on statistics. Among the specialties of applied psychology are clinical, consulting, counseling, educational, industrial, organizational, engineering, consumer, health, military, pastoral, environmental psychology, and psychopharmacology. SOCIOLOGY Sociology is the study of social organization. By this is meant the way human societies and their constituent parts are organized. Sociologists take as their subject matter what members of a society ordinarily take for granted: How and why it is that most people generally behave in an orderly way (we stake our lives on this assumption each time we get into an automobile); how standards of appropriate behavior are learned and come to be shared; how behavior is governed by social relationships (such as employee-boss, husband- wife, buyer-seller) and what the elements of such relationships are reciprocity, dominance, power, trust, loyalty, etc.; how, why, and with what consequences society's rewards and resources (power, privilege, prestige)

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 11 are distributed across social categories defined by sex, age, race, or other attributes; how basic social needs are met through the institutions of family, work, education, politics, religion, etc., and how these institutions change over time and vary across societies. The units sociologists study range from pairs of interacting individuals to entire societies, and the range of analytic perspectives is very large. A few examples suffice to give a taste of this diversity. The demographic perspective emphasizes the distribution of the characteristics of social aggregates or populations. Age and sex distributions and their relations to the size and growth of populations are the concerns of formal demography, which, as was mentioned in the previous chapter, has become a distinct discipline (see the paper by Menken and Trussell in Part II). But a broader demographic perspective within sociology leads to a focus on the interrelations among such social characteristics as education, occupation, income, race, and place of residence as well as age and sex. A social psychological perspective leads to concern with such questions as how people interact in small groups, how attitudes are formed, how society and personality interact in the process of socialization, and how beliefs are formed and spread in episodes of collective behavior, such as panics or riots. The macrohistorical perspective emphasizes overarching principles of societal organization and their consequences and leads to the study of large-scale social change. Comparisons between feudal, capitalist, and socialist economies, analyses of the rise of the nation-state, and studies of the social impact of multinational corporations are examples of research informed by this perspective. A final example is the cultural perspective. This includes the study of cosmologies, value systems, and normative patterns that regulate, justify, and give meaning to social behavior. More concretely, it involves sociologists in the study of religious systems, legal systems, informal norms, and high and mass culture. As with other fields, much of sociology is oriented toward analyzing issues of contemporary concern. This has led to the proliferation of subfields that to some extent crosscut the perspectives outlined above. Some are identified by the major institutions of society they study the sociology of religion, medicine, or education. Some refer to the major types of groups in society- the sociology of small groups or formal organizations. Some refer to some kind of social process, as in the sociology of deviance or social movements. And some are named after the social problems on which they focus for example, the sociology of mental illness or poverty. ANTHROPOLOGY Considered as a whole, anthropology is customarily divided into four major subfields. The first is physical anthropology, which involves the biological

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12 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I characteristics of human beings as influenced by heredity and environment and which occasions the study of fossil remains of primates and humans as well as the study of the biological characteristics and behavior of primates; physical anthropology overlaps with paleontology, biology, and the other life sciences. The second is archaeology, which involves the recovery (largely through excavations) and study of the material remains of former cultures. There is again substantial overlap and interaction with the physical and biologial sciences. Not only does this serve in part to increase the recovery of what is inevitably fragmentary evidence, but it also assists in broadening the interpretation of patterns of human activity and their environmental contexts. Archaeology also overlaps substantially with history and other humanistic disciplines, at least in the study of past cultures for which a historical record exists. The third is linguistic anthropology, which overlaps with linguistic studies in many social sciences and humanities and involves the study of vocabularies, grammars, systems of usage, and patterns of change in the languages of cultures. Finally, there is sociocultural anthropology (alternately called, with dif- ferences in nuance, social anthropology, cultural anthropology, or ethnology), in which most anthropologists specialize. It maintains an inclusive focus on the contemporary and relatively recent cultures of the world, with particular respect to social organization, interpersonal relations, and systems of tradi- tional values or beliefs and patterned activities. Within sociocultural anthro- pology there are further subdivisions for example, economic anthropology and legal anthropology. Psychological anthropology (sometimes referred to as the study of culture and personality) bears similarity to parts of social psychology, with some differences in theoretical emphasis. As mentioned, some social anthropologists include demographic studies in their repertoire; the paper on land tenure by Netting (in Part II) illustrates an ecological approach that has also assumed some prominence. Others are mainly concerned with systematized areas of belief and behavior, such as myth and ritual (see, for example, the paper by D'Andrade in Part II). What, then, are the differences between sociology and sociocultural anthropology? Because of their different origins anthropology arising in historical coincidence with the colonizing and missionary spread of the West to other parts of the world, and sociology arising in connection with the fundamental transformations in the West of the industrial and democratic revolutions anthropologists and sociologists traditionally have studied social life in different settings. Anthropologists have concentrated on small, simple, often nonliterate societies, whereas sociologists have mainly studied large, complex, literate civilizations. Particularly in the past two decades, however, this distinction has been breaking down, as both sociologists and anthropol

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 13 ogists study caste in Indian villages, as anthropologists take up investigations of places like East London, and as sociologists broaden their comparative scope. Moreover, although anthropologists tend to focus on cultural values and meaning systems more than do sociologists, the interest of sociologists in art, literature, religion, and mass culture qualifies this generalization. While anthropological research has centered on certain institutional aspects, such as kinship, magic, and religion, that have been thought to infuse simpler societies, these subjects are not without interest to sociologists; by the same token, especially in modern times, anthropologists have interested themselves in economic structure, political structure, stratification, economic develop- ment, and other aspects of social life. Finally, both anthropologists and sociologists have recently come to take a greater interest in history and the work of historians. ECONOMICS In contrast to the relative breadth and inclusiveness characterizing the behavioral and social sciences mentioned so far, economics has a sharper and more delimited disciplinary focus. It concentrates on how individuals- and society as a whole-choose to use scarce resources to produce various commodities and distribute them for consumption among individuals and groups. This general concern involves several more specialized issues. The first set of issues is indicated by the term commodities. What is the level of the total production of goods and services in a society? What different kinds of commodities are produced, and in what proportions? Economists attempt to account for variations in the level and composition of production. The second set of issues arises from the term scarce resources. Goods and services are produced by the application of the following factors of production: (1) land, or the level and kind of available natural resources and the cultural values and technical knowledge that govern their use; (2) labor, or the level of motivation and skill of human beings; (3) capital, or the level of resources available for future production rather than immediate consumption; and, sometimes, (4) organization, or the principles involved in the combination and recombination of the other factors. Economists are interested in explaining the levels and relative proportions of these resources in productive use and the techniques by which they are combined. The third set of issues is suggested by the term distribute. Which individuals and groups receive the goods and services generated in the production process? Or, to put it in terms of payment, what is the distribution of income generated in the economic process? Economists are interested in the forces that determine the level and

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14 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I composition of production, the allocation of resources, and the distribution of wealth. What are these forces? In broad terms, economists recognize mechanisms such as religious decrees, customary arrangements, and political arrangements, but formal economic analysis has traditionally stressed supply and demand in the market as the immediate mechanism. The level and composition of production depend on the desires of different individuals and groups for products and the conditions under which producers are willing to supply them. The level and composition of the factors of production depend on the relationship between the demand for them on the part of producers and the difficulties and costs involved in securing them. Finally, the proportions of income received by different individuals and groups depend on the conditions of supply and demand governing the relations among economic agents. At the same time, economists have also noted environmental causes and consequences of the behavior of markets. In developing these kinds of explanations, economists have tended to focus on two levels of analysis. Microeconomics has to do with specifying the preferences and assumptions of economic agents (consumers and producers, households and firms, etc.) and analyzing how these assumptions and preferences influence the behavior of those agents and thus constitute conditions of demand and supply, which generate various economic outcomes. Outcomes are thought to depend on such factors as the degree to which agents' knowledge is certain or uncertain, the degree to which "public goods" (goods that are freely available to everyone once they are developed, such as environmental improvements) enter the market, and the degree to which agents are free from regulation or other constraints (see the discussion on resource allocation in Chapter 4 for specific examples). An example of microeconomic analysis is found in the paper by Heckman and Michael (in Part II) on income distribution, poverty, and labor mobility. Macroeconomics, by contrast, concerns the study of entire economies and involves aggregating or averaging individual units into some kind of total level of a society's employment, investment, national income, and so on. Macroeconomics studies the regularities in the movement and relations among these aggregated totals. Like the other behavioral and social sciences, economics has been divided into a range of subspecialties. Some deal with the analysis of a special factor of production: For example, the analysis of money and banking focuses on the structure and dynamics of money, capital, and credit in the economy, while labor economics is the specialized study of conditions affecting that particular factor. Other specialties vary according to the scope of analysis covered for example, regional economics, national economics, and inter- national economics. Still others refer to kinds of economic processes, such as economic development. Finally, economics has a number of applied fields,

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 15 such as urban economics, agricultural economics, and economics of the public sector, which focus on problems, constraints, and policy questions in the areas indicated. A subspecialty in economics that cuts across a number of substantive areas is econometrics, the development of statistical procedures for the measurement and analysis of economic phenomena. This subspecialty is described below in the section on the field of statistics, and some additional examples of its application are given in the section on economic data and economic models in Chapter 4. POLITICAL SCIENCE Political science is in certain respects parallel to economics analytically, in that it deals with the creation, organization, and use of a distinctive social commodity power (analogous to wealth in economics). A second point of parallelism is that the production and organization of power can be said to be a function of the combination of a number of scarce resources-especially legitimacy, public support, administrative skill, and financial resources. Despite these similarities, however, political science as a discipline is to a degree less definitely focused than economics. Among other reasons, this has to do with the fact that political scientists like sociologists and anthropologists have not arrived at a general consensus on concepts as specific as supply and demand to account for how power is produced, distributed, and exercised. The investigation of power depends, of course, on the normative rules that guide the use of power in a society. Not surprisingly, American political science has been largely concerned with how the doctrine of constitutional democracy operates in American society. The theory of democracy has been gradually expanded and deepened as a result of empirical studies of elections, political parties, public participation, public opinion, legislative behavior, and so forth. One tradition of political science is concerned with describing and analyzing formal political institutions at different political and geographical levels. American government, for example, customarily has been viewed as an account of how American political institutions such as the Constitution, statutory law, and customary practices (for example, party behavior) work. Traditional treatments of state governments, federal-state relations, and county and municipal governments are similarly concerned with the workings of political institutions, as is the traditional approach to international relations, except that the latter has also been characterized in part by an emphasis on diplomatic history. In these traditional areas of political science, the literature is also concerned with policy implications for example, the pros and cons of various forms of municipal government, such as council-mayor, commis

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16 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I sign, and city manager. Another offshoot of this tradition is comparative government. Preoccupied in earlier decades with Western constitutional governments and large-scale political institutions, it extends more recently into the study and analysis of socialist and communist forms of government as well as the emerging systems of governments, parties, and political arrangements in the less developed countries of the world. In the postwar decades, especially the l950s and early 1960s, two new approaches emerged in political science: the behavioral approach and the functional approach. These decades witnessed an increased interest in empirical (as contrasted with normative) analysis of political behavior and institutions as well as the borrowing, modification, and application of then- dominant models from the other behavioral and social sciences, especially psychology and sociology. The behavioral approach tended to concentrate more on the behavior of individuals in political situations and less on the formal structure of political institutions, explaining individual behavior by reference to social and psychological determinants. Voting behavior, for example, was shown to be influenced by race, education, socioeconomic class, religion, and family as well as by various psychological variables such as level of political consciousness and political commitment (see the paper on voting research by Converse et al. in Part II). The functional approach involved a concentration on the polity as a system, emphasizing the mutual interrelations among the various groups, structures, and processes within that system. In addition, that approach spawned a much more comprehensive comparative scope and began to study the political structure and functioning of various kinds of groups and structures that had not previously been considered as primarily political tribes, clans, and other kinship groups, for example. The behavioral-functional impetus has also given rise to comparative studies under the heading of cross-national studies that sys- tematically investigate the functional relations among different kinds of political phenomena, such as the type of state and the level of political violence as well as the relations between political structures and processes and other kinds of social and economic phenomena. Despite the increased emphasis on the empirical approach and the great kaleidoscope of approaches to the study of power, political science has retained a consistent emphasis on public policy analysis, and, along with economics, it stands out in this regard from the other behavioral and social sciences. This policy emphasis involves not only the evaluation of political arrangements and decisions but also the processes by which policy decisions are generated, made, and implemented (or deflected). Furthermore, the policy stress is found in the study of all levels of political life-local, national, and international.

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 17 GEOGRAPHY Although geography has a component of physical science and overlaps with a number of earth sciences, especially geology and meteorology, it is now primarily and increasingly concerned with social science questions. Recently, however, some geographers have returned to the traditional concern with problems of ecology, -environmental deterioration, adaptations to risk, and energy. Basic research in human geography has been focused on two major types of issues: the relationships between people and the environment and spatial theories of location and movement. Research in the environmental tradition has developed and used a variety of behavioral models to examine the human imprint on landscape, the use and conservation of the physical environment, the development of resources, and the perception of and response to natural hazards. Environmental geographers are interested in the forces that affect the development and use of land and water for agriculture, grazing, and recreation, the characteristics of landscape that are valued and preserved, and the manifestations of uncertainty and risk in land use. The geographer uses the earth's landscape as laboratory, both to test basic social science and physical science theories and to provide comparative observations for the development of new theory. Much of the recent advancement in our understanding of people's tolerance of, aversion to, and management of risk, for example, has come from studies of flood insurance and the impacts of droughts and earthquakes. Geographers and regional scientists whose research focuses on spatial analysis study regional development and decline, the size and spacing of settlements, interregional population redistribution, processes of suburbani- zation, and industrial siting. They also examine such topics as the structure of urban land use, the provision and delivery of public services, and the relationship of land use to transportation systems. HISTORY It is difficult to contrast history, defined most generally as the discipline that attempts an accurate account and understanding of the past, with the other social sciences with respect to subject matter, because in principle history shares a common mass of raw data with the other social science disciplines. Not only are people, societies, and institutions the common focus of all the social sciences, but history also borrows freely from its sister disciplines. A historian seeking to date an early Mississippi settlement and a medievalist seeking to discover the steps in building cathedrals both employ the hypotheses and techniques of archaeology to date the timbers and the stones. A modern

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18 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I explanation for the economic collapse of the western European part of the Roman Empire uses the theories of the latest regional and international trade economics. Conversely, other social sciences borrow frequently from historical re- search. Much of the improved quality of today's demographic sociology rests on the efforts of historians to evaluate and detect errors in the population records of the past. The focus of modern political history on revolutions, the nation-state and its institutions, and industrialization reveals the overlap of historical and political science research in both data and concepts. One might note as well that at this moment the economic rationale of the policies of the governments of both the United States and the United Kingdom rests on hypotheses drawn from a history of the money supply in the United States. The vagueness of boundary is made even more elusive by the fact that many historians do not seek to practice social science at all, but rather follow a very old and very nodular branch of literature. The chronicle. the biography -a ~ -a r -r ~ ~ A ~ ~ and the narrative-the most common forms of historical research and writing- neither propose nor test any hypotheses, but instead follow the canons of these forms of literature. Historians who do regard themselves as social scientists are distinguished from social scientists in other disciplines by several features. Historians tend to concentrate on material that is recorded relatively far in the past. They also tend to organize their subject matter in somewhat different ways. As a rule they use three criteria to subdivide their field: chronological time, cultural and/or national tradition, and aspects of social life. The familiar phrases "British social history of the 1 9th century" and "western European intellectual history during the 1 8th century" exemplify these criteria. Other social scientists tend to use more abstract and formal categories-consumption, social structure, and value patterns, for example to subdivide their disci- plines. In part because historians must depend for evidence on the surviving fragments of the past, both artifacts and written records, the selection of data influences their specialty. Any hypothesis to be tested must find its validation in what survives; the pressure of the evidence tends to make historians identify their intellectual problems and their causes and explanations differ- ently from their fellow social scientists. STATISTICS Like geography and history, statistics is only partially a social science. It differs from these disciplines, however, in that it is involved not with substance but with methods. We include it because statistical methods form the basis for the analytic procedures on which a great portion of research in

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22 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I of sports have developed as investigators began to investigate phenomena that had become important enough to be problematic. IMPROVEMENT OF DATA A great deal of scientific activity is concerned with the development of techniques for careful observation, accurate description, and precise mea- surement. As we note later, the social and behavioral sciences have made dramatic progress on this front in recent times. It might even be argued that the improvement of data represents the major area of advance. To mention only a few examples: It is now possible to describe the distribution of traits, attitudes, and behaviors in the population as a whole through the use of sample surveys; to monitor trends in the state of the economy and comparisons between economic systems through the use of national accounts and economic indicators; to analyze the behavior of newborn infants through visual preference techniques; and to assess the cognitive performance of individuals and populations through the use of standardized tests. The data generated by these means not only provide more accurate information about ourselves and our society but also facilitate the formulation and testing of more complex and sophisticated hypotheses about human behavior and social organizations than were previously possible. Recent advances in demographic estimation techniques provide a striking example of the utility of improved measurement (for a review see the paper by Menken and Trussell in Part II). In the course of the last century, mathematical demographers have been able to work out detailed relationships between fertility rates, mortality rates, and the age structure of populations, particularly through the development of stable population theory. These relations have proved useful in projecting the future structure of populations, wherever sufficiently reliable data have been available. However, in devel- oping nations, where the need for such information is perhaps most acute, data have been incomplete and inaccurate; work by Coale and Brass (Brass et al., 1968; United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1967) and subsequent refinements (Hill et al., 1981' have made it possible to partly overcome this deficit by making use of known relationships among demographic variables to provide estimates from incomplete data. A project of the Committee on Population and Demography of the National Research Council is exploiting these techniques to develop reliable estimates of the demographic structures of a number of developing nations-estimates that would have been impossible not many years ago (Lapham, 19781. As in the physical and biological sciences, the history of the social and behavioral sciences has been one of constant interaction between improve- ments in measurement and improvements in theory. For example, the

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 23 development of national economic indictors by Kuznets (1941) in the 1930s made possible the systematic study of economic development, by providing a theoretically based and standardized metric of economic outcomes and economic growth. As is typically the case, the pioneering work of Kuznets did not solve for all time the problem of output and income measurements. His advances paved the way for further research and still further findings. To illustrate, journalists often conclude from the economic almanac of the World Bank that the United States has been surpassed in per-capita real gross national product by such countries as Switzerland, Sweden, and West Germany. This impression comes from translating Swiss francs, Swedish crowns, and German marks into dollars using official foreign exchange rates. When the United Nations and the World Bank sponsored a study to survey what prices people actually pay in spending their various incomes (Kravis et al., 1975), the errors in these impressions were made clear. U.S. per-capita income still surpasses in real terms that of Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, and West Germany. In this case, ongoing research into the economic theory of index numbers by regions, combined with expensive and time-consuming data gathering on actual local prices and incomes, is producing new insights and understanding of people's economic welfare. SHIFTS IN CONCEPTUAL AND THEORETICAL FOCUS The behavioral and social sciences, like other sciences, are characterized by dramatic cycles of conceptual innovation, the modification of old perspectives, and the consideration of new problems on the basis of new perspectives. Two examples illustrate this kind of cycle. First, in classical economics, markets were regarded as peopled with a number of economic actors (e.g., households, firms) who produced, ex- changed, and consumed goods and services according to the laws of supply and demand. Classical economists typically made a number of simplifying assumptions: that all economic actors had full knowledge of market conditions, that no economic actor had the power singly to influence output or prices, and that all economic actors would behave according to some kind of rational market calculus. Market processes were the direct objects of study, and the phenomena that were built into the assumptions were not objects for study, but remained unexamined givers. In the subsequent history of economic thought, many of the advances of knowledge came not only from refining economic analysis in the context of these givens but also from challenging their status- that is, regarding the givens as subject to variability and studying them directly as influences on economic processes. Modern economic developments dealing with behavior under conditions of risk and uncertainty were built on modifications and

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24 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I reformulations of the assumption of perfect knowledge of market conditions. The development of theories of imperfect competition challenged the as- sumption that firms do not have the power to influence prices or output, assumed that in fact they did, and generated solutions or outcomes of market processes that were not possible under classical assumptions. Finally, Keynes (1936) altered the classical assumption that modern economies have an inherent tendency toward full employment and would adjust quickly to correct disturbances that resulted in unemployment. Keynes foresaw the possibility of chronic unemployment as an equilibrium position (that is, as the condition toward which an economy might tend to move), which was difficult to envision under classical assumptions. In these examples the dynamic is one of questioning what was previously taken as economic reality and reformu- lating the nature of economic processes that is, making them a special case of some larger family of processes or making them contingent on a more inclusive order of determinants than had previously been taken into account. The paper by Heckman and Michael (in Part II) gives an account of recent conceptual development in the area of labor economics. The second example concerns explanations of crime. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the dominant explanations of crime were built on the assumption that its main determinants lay in the biological realm, and various efforts were made to identify characteristic physical traits or body types associated with criminal behavior. While these explanations were crude and hardly qualify as theory in any formal sense, they nonetheless contained the assumption that psychological or temperamental features of criminal behavior were either altogether unimportant or derivative from more fundamental biological determinants; moreover, the social contexts of crime were altogether unexamined. Crime was thought to be determined objectively by biological factors. Subsequent developments in the study of crime have challenged this assumption. One new branch of theory and investigation, stimulated mainly by the psychoanalytic perspective, has regarded crime as the "acting out" of deep psychological conflicts; for example, in one formulation, criminality derives from a sense of guilt. Other approaches have stressed social disorganization and social contradictions as generating crime; others have explained it as behavior learned in particular social environments. Still others have focused on the social determinants of how particular acts come to be defined as crimes, noting that a given act may or may not be regarded as criminal depending on the outcome of a political struggle. Drinking in public places, which was constitutionally banned at one point in our history, is a case in point, as is the current struggle over the legality of abortion. Some very recent efforts have acknowledged the importance of all three levels

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences biological, psychological, and social and have begun the attempt to construct interactive models incorporating a variety of these kinds of variables. These cycles of reformulation may find their origins at the level of theoretical discourse, when theorists attempt to challenge the underpinnings of some explanation and revise it by changing its assumptions; or the appearance of empirical anomalies that cannot be accounted for under accepted theories may demand new explanations. Whatever their origins, these cycles leave in their wake an array of competitive schools or approaches. In an ideal scientific world, the alternative approaches would be assessed, and accepted or rejected accordingly, according to their capacity to account for observed phenomena and generate new hypotheses. The world is not so perfect, however; existing approaches do not disappear when new ones appear, or even when they are shown to be superior. Indeed, sometimes they need not, since existing approaches may address a different range of problems. In any event, proponents of the old and new approaches may not agree on the criteria for a decisive, once-and-for-all evaluation of one theory over another. Again, these tendencies characterize all scientific fields to some extent. INTERDISCIPLINARY FERMENT The continuous development of areas of inquiry also arises as a kind of synthetic fusion of ideas and investigations around problems that are not unambiguously assignable to one discipline but draw on the resources of many. We mention four instances of these kinds of interdisciplinary endeavors. The first is an interest in the human life-span as a focus of study. A relatively new but vital focus of scientific inquiry, this area has drawn contributions from developmental psychologists, psychoanalysts, sociologists, and demographic historians as well as some physiologists and biologists. An important insight stemming from this perspective is that developmental change occurs over the entire course of life rather than being restricted to the childhood years; by the same token, behavior and personality remain malleable throughout life. This discovery has extremely important DOliCV imnli~.~tionc for the redesign of programs and facilities for the aged. A more detailed discussion of these developments is presented in the paper by Featherman (in Part II). The second example is the development of an area of inquiry known as social choice. Peopled mainly by economists and political scientists but including some others as well, this special area involves the study of determinants, dynamics, and outcomes of processes by which societies make decisions about policies affecting their members; it includes as well the study ~J ~.^,_ ~^^A^~ ~^ Jew ~ ~A$.AA~lVAl~

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26 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I of criteria for evaluating these processes. This area is described in more detail in Chapter 3. The third example concerns the great volume of research that goes under the heading of comparative international research, involving the study of regions of the world (such as Southeast Asia), the study of transnational institutions (such as corporations and banks), and the study of international economic, political, and social systems. Built on no single behavioral or social science discipline, these lines of inquiry are inherently interdisciplinary, involving economists, geographers, political scientists, social anthropologists, sociologists, and historians as well as scholars from the humanistic disciplines, and represent one of the main areas of close and active collaboration between American and foreign social scientists. A final example is what has come in the last two decades to be called policy studies. Policy analysis combines the intellectual efforts of political scientists, geographers, economists, sociologists, and statisticians. Often organized in special schools or programs within universities, researchers in this area investigate the conditions that give rise to particular public policies, evaluate how well they achieve their objectives, and study the unanticipated consequences of policy interventions. As these kinds of interdisciplinary efforts evolve, participants communicate informally with one another, hold meetings, develop small professional associations, and perhaps develop specialized publications such as newsletters or journals. A FINAL WORD Taking into consideration the dynamics of specialization, the development of data, theoretical shifts, and interdisciplinary activity and the interactions of all of these with one another the behavioral and social sciences resemble not so much a map as a kaleidoscope, with continuous growth, shifting boundaries, and new emphases and highlights. EXPLANATORY MODES AND METHODS IN THE BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES As the foregoing has suggested, the behavioral and social sciences are highly diverse, ranging from the study of meaning to the study of human fossils. Nonetheless, it is possible to identify a few central themes that characterize the aims, the modes of explanation, and the methods of most of these disciplines. First, with respect to aims there are two largely competitive visions, which gives some credence to the notion postulated by C. P. Snow that the social

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 27 and behavioral sciences are intermediate between the two cultures of science and the humanities. The dominant vision is shared with the biological and physical sciences: The goal of scientific inquiry is the cumulative development of empirically verified generalizations about the conditions under which events or phenomena occur and about how they are organized and interrelated. Attempts to identify the general principles by which organisms learn, to specify the conditions under which prices rise and fall, and to account for the tendency of social classes to reproduce themselves are examples of this general approach, in which the aims of research in the social and behavioral sciences are taken to be no different from those of any other science. The fact that many generalizations or laws in the behavioral and social sciences are probabilistic rather than deterministic, tendencies rather than absolutes, allies these disciplines with much of biology and with areas of physical science as diverse as quantum mechanics and meteorology and distinguishes them from the deterministic approaches of 1 9th-century physics and chemistry. Generalization of any sort requires abstraction. Much research in the behavioral and social sciences involves the systematic study of a limited number of phenomena variables abstracted from the context in which they are embedded. Formal demography, for example, largely involves the working out of the interrelations among four variables birth rates, death rates, age, and sex to determine their consequences for the size, growth, and distribution of populations (see the paper by Menken and Trussell in Part II). Often such abstraction is required to discern the underlying connections between phe- nomena of interest, which tend to be obscured by the additional influence of other factors when studied in context. For example, just as assertions about the effect of atmospheric pressure on the boiling point of water are in fact assertions about H2O and not about Potomac River water or Pacific Ocean water, which contain much more besides H2O, assertions about the respon- siveness of prices to changes in supply and demand are abstractions from what actually happens to the price of a particular good being sold at a particular time in a particular market. The need to simplify and abstract behavior in the interest of discovering general laws is seen by some social and behavioral scientists (indeed, a sizable fraction in several of these disciplines) as producing results that do not greatly enhance our understanding of the human condition. These scholars have an alternative vision. For them, human behavior and social arrangements are regarded as arising from particular concrete historical circumstances and hence are appropriately studied in the context of these circumstances. The goal of research for these scholars thus is not generalization many would question whether the sort of generalization that characterizes the physical and biological sciences is possible but interpretation. Their emphasis is on understanding what is distinctive rather than what is general. For example,

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28 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I someone working in this tradition would be less interested in noting the analogies between Japanese and European feudalism and asking why it is that similar social forms arose in such widely disparate settings than in working out the specifics of the relationships between lord and vassal in the Japanese or European context. One social scientist has contrasted the two approaches as a "laws-and-instances ideal of explanation" and a "cases- and-interpretations one" (Geertz, 1980:1651. Both approaches must be encompassed in a complete understanding of the nature of research in the social and behavioral sciences. Crosscutting this distinction are differences among and within the behavioral and social sciences with respect to both the types of data used and the methods of analysis employed. Like astronomy and geology, most of the behavioral and social sciences are observational rather than experimental disciplines. Only in a few of these fields does experimentation play an important role. Although relying mainly on nonexperimental data, many of these fields are highly quantitative. Relatively elaborate statistical procedures have been developed to approximate as closely as possible by statistical adjustments the kind of control of extraneous factors possible in experimental procedures. These distinctions lead naturally to the identification of three distinctive modes of analysis: experimentation, statistical control, and statistically uncontrolled observation. As with our catalogue of disciplines, however, these categories permit only a crude summary of the range and variety of analytic procedures used in the behavioral and social sciences. The three modes of analysis form a framework for the remainder of the discussion in this chapter. EXPERIMENTATION In some areas of behavioral and social research, true experimentation is possible. Experiments are studies in which the objects of study are divided into categories and the categories are subjected to different treatments. If differential effects are observed, they are presumed to be due to the difference in treatments. In the behavioral and social sciences, experiments typically are conducted by assigning individuals randomly to groups and then subjecting the groups to different treatments. The necessity for random assignment is due to the fact that individuals ordinarily differ in ways other than those being manipulated in the experiment, and these differences may affect the outcomes. By randomizing the assignment of individuals to different treat- ments, these extraneous effects are averaged out, which makes it possible to infer, within known limits of error, that whatever post-treatment differences between groups are observed were caused by the treatment.

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 29 For example, in a study of the effect of suggestion on memory, Loftus (1975) showed subjects a brief videotape of an automobile accident, then asked them questions about it. For half the subjects, one of the questions was: "How fast was the white sports car going while traveling along the country road?" For the other half, a similar question was: "How fast was the white sports car going when it passed the barn while traveling along the country road?" In fact, there was no barn in the film. Yet when questioned again about the accident a week later, more than 17 percent of those exposed to the false information about a barn answered "yes" to the question: "Did you see a barn?" In contrast, only about 3 percent of the other subjects answered "yes" to the same question. Apparently, the assumption of the existence of a barn during the initial questioning caused many subjects to incorporate the nonexistent barn into their recollection of the event. Moreover, a subsequent experiment showed that simply asking people whether they had seen a barn a question to which they usually answered "no" was enough to increase the likelihood that they would later incorporate a barn into their memories of the accident. Research of this kind has important implications for eyewitness testimony. In criminal and civil trials, jurors tend to believe the testimony of eyewitnesses. Yet, as this and similar experiments show, such testimony can be faulty. While most experimental work in the behavioral and social sciences is done in psychology, a particularly interesting set of experimental studies was carried out by economists and sociologists to investigate the effect of federal subsidies to low-income families (negative income tax) on the incentive to seek paid employment. Such experiments were carried out at several sites: some towns in New Jersey; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; Gary, Indiana; and a number of rural areas. In the New Jersey experiment (Kershaw and Fair, 1976-1977) the interest was in testing how families would respond to varying levels of income subsidy and various rates of "taxation" (that is, partial reduction in the subsidy for people who earn income on their own). The issue was whether people would lose their incentive to work because they were being supported by public funds. This particular experiment included only families with male heads who were able to work. A sample of about 1,300 low-income families was selected and subsidized at various rates for a three-year period. The main finding of this research, which has occasioned some lively debate (Ross) and Lyall, 1976), is that income subsidies do not appear to reduce incentives to work. STATISTICAL CONTROL Often in the behavioral and social sciences, as in the clinical areas of medical research, true experimentation is not possible. Both ethical and practical

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30 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I considerations severely limit the kinds of experiments that can be done using human subjects. In addition, many events of interest to social scientists are simply not experimentally manipulable. The propensity for in-group solidarity to increase in wartime, for example, is not something that can be experi- mentally confirmed; nor can the proposition that social stratification is more pronounced in sedentary agricultural societies than in hunter-gatherer societies. To overcome this limitation, a variety of statistical procedures have been devised to simulate experimental conditions by holding constant or controlling those variables that are thought to influence a particular outcome but are not of interest to the investigator, and to investigate the net contribution of each of several variables to a given outcome. Such procedures are sometimes simple and straightforward but can often become quite complex. A common starting point in social and behavioral research is the observation that two variables are associated that is, that individuals in a population tend to have similar values on both variables (or dissimilar values, in which case we speak of negative association). For example, income and education are associated, because those with high education tend also to have high income; gender and earnings are associated, because men tend to have higher earnings than women. Over time the homicide rate and the suicide rate of a population are negatively associated, because one tends to rise as the other falls. Association alone does not indicate a causal relationship. The association between two variables may be the product of a third variable that has determined the value of both, so that their association indicates only a common cause. An example, made famous by its presentation to many generations of social science students, is the observation that babies are associated with storks that is, areas with lots of storks tend to have high birth rates. From this observation, one would not want to conclude that storks bring babies, at least not without first statistically controlling for size of place in order to test the hypothesis that the observed association arises because rural areas tend to have both high birth rates and large stork populations. This example illustrates both the logic and the limitation of statistical controls. If it turned out that within areas (rural and urban) there was no relationship between stork density and birth rates, we could readily conclude that the observed association between babies and storks was due to their common cause, the different characters of rural and urban places. But suppose it turned out that urban areas with many storks and rural areas with many storks both had higher birth rates than the corresponding areas with few storks. Could we then conclude that storks bring babies? No, because still other factors might be involved. Perhaps, due to accidents of geography and history, storks tend to be found in Catholic areas (this is a European example). Catholics tend to have higher birth rates than Protestants for reasons that

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The Nature and Methods of the Behavioral and Social Sciences 31 have nothing to do with storks. So possibly it is religion, not storks, that affects the birth rate. Or possibly it is something associated with religion to some degree, like income, education, or occupation, that is the major operative force. The point is that, in contrast to experiments, in nonexperi- mental work one can never be sure that all of the relevant factors have been controlled. That is a major limitation of the approach. In an effort to overcome this limitation, social and behavioral scientists and statisticians have developed a powerful array of mathematical and statistical procedures designed to permit inferences about the behavior and interrelations of sets of variables connected to each other in complex ways. Multiple regression analysis and its extensions and elaborations have become standard tools in economics and sociology and are widely used in most of the other behavioral and social sciences as well (Van de Geer, 19711. Much work has gone into the development of formal models, in which the relations among variables are expressed in terms of mathematical equations. A relatively simple example of such a model is described in Chapter 3 in the discussion of the analysis of status attainment. Much more complex models, some involving hundreds of variables, have been developed for the purpose of economic forecasting; such models are discussed in Chapter 4. These developments have gone hand in hand with the development of sampling procedures that permit inferences to be made about large populations on the basis of information obtained from relatively small samples. Since the data used in much social and behavioral research are drawn from people, organizations, and other relatively heterogeneous populations, the researcher is not free to assume that one individual is like every other. One bacterium may be much like another of the same kind, but one middle-aged male professor probably is not enough like another that they can be assumed to be interchangeable. Given this, a researcher interested in the behavior of middle-aged male professors must either collect data on all of them or on a sample of them drawn in such a way that it can be assumed, within known limits of error, to represent all of them. The sample survey, discussed in Chapter 4, is an important technique for accomplishing this, but behavioral and social scientists use sampling procedures to collect other sorts of data as well. See the paper by Tanur (in Part II) for an extended discussion of this topic. STATISTICALLY UNCONTROEEED OBSERVATION There are many research problems in the behavioral and social sciences for which it is not possible, practical, or desirable to collect sample data or to attempt statistical controls. Such problems cover a broad range, from the analysis of many (although not all) kinds of historical data to the interpretation

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32 BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PART I of cultures. Descriptions of myths or rituals often fall into this category, gaining significance from the interweaving of recounted or enacted symbols with ongoing social relationships. So do processes of change that may be adequately known only from a single well-documented occurrence but that still sustain a kind of interpretative generalization if stress is placed on the contextural setting of the institutions, beliefs, and behavior with which they are associated. Comparative studies also can be carried out on this basis; comparisons between a limited number of concrete cases may not permit or warrant statistical analysis but sometimes can be abstracted into informative contrasts of structure and function. Another example of this kind of study is the detailed clinical investigation of individuals with complex or unusual personality disorders. Such studies provide the richest kinds of primary data, capture the texture of social life firsthand, and often are valuable as a means of generating hypotheses. Moreover, there is often no substitute for a richly descriptive approach that takes full command of masses of heterogeneous and confusing data if one wishes to sort out and assess the significance of behavioral codes that prevail in a particular society or culture. Finally, the search for counterexamples through what is essentially uncon- trolled observation can have an important influence on hypotheses about universals. For example, it was once widely assumed that the nuclear family (mother, father, and children) was a fundamental unit in all societies. Contrary cases in the ethnographic literature then were adduced and intensively debated. Was it useful or sufficient, the challenge ran, to base a claim for the family's universality on a definition of it in purely formal terms? A functional approach, which seemed in many respects more helpful, led to a further proliferation of possibilities. Should the family be thought of as the primary locus for the socialization of children? Must we think of it as a coresidential unit? Should families embody common economic functions to be recognized as such? Or, at a minimum, is the family merely a procreational unit? What emerges from continuing discussions along these lines, at least at this writing, is neither a reaffirmed universal rule nor an unequivocal refutation of one. Instead, a social institution has taken on a richer texture when viewed from opposing as well as complementary perspectives. Variant cases have shed light on the complexity and adaptability of what is undeniably a basic social feature. We less often test a hypothesis like this than we come to understand its potential range of applications and ambiguities. Contrary cases, in a word, need not be so much negative as additive.