Meaning and Measurement in Comparative Studies

  • Stefan Nowak
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 94)


The development of comparative social research seems to be one of the most characteristic features of contemporary sociology. The idea of broad, cross-cultural, cross-regional or cross-historical comparisons is, of course, not a new one in the social sciences. In fact it is as old as the tendency to base theoretical generalizations about social phenomena upon broad inductive, empirical evidence. It can be traced in the history of social sciences from Aristotle and Thucydides, through Machiavelli, Ibn Khaldun and Montesquieu, to Marx, Comte, Spencer, Durkheim and Weber. There are nevertheless some special features in contemporary comparative sociology. One is that the studies called ‘comparative’ are usually those which collect and analyze data from more than one society — or perhaps better, from more than one nation-state — trying at the same time to apply the same degree of standardization of research techniques which until one or two decades ago could be found in the studies conducted within one national sample.1


Relational Concept Phenomenal Property Initial Indicator Behavioral Sequence Relational Counterpart 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Nowak

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