This paper argues that single-equation explanatorymodels of many types of social phenomena should not be built in accordance with establishedsociological ways of thinking. In sociological research, the focus is often on the causal mechanisms behindphenomena, and it is often interesting to use models that show the hierarchical causal structure,that is, how influences are nested in the causal process. I propose such a model with a form that reflectsa two-step structure. According to this model, the dependent factor is a product of independentfactors that are linear functions of variables. The model, which should be used with the factor product inunexpanded form, can be assumed to have wide application. However, the models used insociological research and discussed in textbooks are generally very different. They do not have afunction-of-functions form, but take a form in which variables are directly entered. Furthermore,even if they take interaction into consideration, they are linear in an extended sense because they construeit as one or more terms that are products of single variables. In comparison with the proposed typeof model, these models are technically simpler. However, this paper argues that the proposed typeof model is superior in many contexts because it better reflects the causal process.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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