Verification of Statements on Causal Relationships in Diachronic Studies

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 212)


Sociology, like other social sciences, was for a long time marked by the use of the survey method of collecting data. That method consists in the study of “objects” (usually persons, sometimes collectivities) for a single time. When using it one performs more or less complicated analyses; among other things, one draws conclusions about the influence of certain variables upon other variables, and hence engages in inference on causal conditionings. One then makes assumptions concerning temporal relationships among variables, but does not verify such assumptions directly (because that requires different methods). Sociology — perhaps because of the relative ease with which the survey method can be applied — usually provides photographic pictures of social facts. More and more such pictures are being gathered, some of them being good. But since they are intended to show facts as they change with the lapse of time, a film would probably be a better method of illustrating them. Such film-like methods of analysis is provided by the panel method, the method of repeated studies of the same objects in successive time cuts.


Causal Relationship Transition Matrix Dichotomous Variable Trend Analysis Panel Study 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

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