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December 11 , 2007

Cumulative Social Inquiry: Transforming Novelty into Innovation


Many social researchers today put a premium on novel perspectives, original topics of study, and new approaches. The importance of incrementally advancing established lines of theorizing and research is often overlooked. Cumulative Social Inquiry offers researchers strategies for building meaningful connections among lines of research that would otherwise remain disparate, thus facilitating systematic theory building and the generation of policy-oriented empirical evidence. Robert B. Smith shows how to design theoretically informed studies that illuminate the social structures, processes, and mechanisms that produce observable outcomes. Numerous examples of classic and contemporary mixed-methods studies illustrate the ways in which qualitative and quantitative techniques can be mutually reinforcing and can contribute to solving research problems at multiple levels.

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