Types of Formalization in Small-Group Research

Types of Formalization in Small-Group Research

Types of Formalization in Small-Group Research

Types of Formalization in Small-Group Research

Excerpt

The subject of this book is the relation of mathematical models to theory-building in the behavioral sciences. Some social scientists deplore the invasion of their field by model builders and curve-fitters. The development of scientific theories is not advanced, they believe, by such obviously non-theoretical exercises. These people might be referred to as an older generation -- if generation is defined not by age but by training and research interests. (By this criterion, I am a member of the older generation.) The present work demonstrates that the bridging of this gap between generations does not entail a conversion of the old or the young; the intention is rather to promote a mutual understanding of shared goals and divergent means.

No one who reads this book can continue to hold the stereotype of the number specialist as a technician who uses mathematics for obscurantism. Even the most cursory reading will disclose the fallacy of viewing the use of mathematical language as a barrier to concern with theory. The authors, like many readers, place a low evaluation on the . . .

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