Research Foundations: Theory, Concepts, Measures

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • describe the role that theory plays in empirical political science research, distinguishing between theory-building and theory-testing research;
  • list the five criteria for causal relationships and explain why causality can be difficult to establish in political science research;
  • explain what conceptual definitions are and how concepts are operationalized; and
  • create strategies to assess causal arguments, conceptual definitions, and measures in political science research.