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A Quantitative Tour of the Social Sciences
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Social scientists become experts in their own disciplines but aren't always familiar with what is going on in neighboring fields. To foster a deeper understanding of the interconnection of the social sciences, economists should know where historical data come from, sociologists should know how to think like economists, political scientists would benefit from understanding how models are tested in psychology, historians should learn how political processes are studied, psychologists should understand sociological theories, and so forth. This overview by prominent social scientists gives an accessible, non-technical sense of how quantitative research is done in different areas. Readers will find out about models and ways of thinking in economics, history, sociology, political science, and psychology, which in turn they can bring back to their own work.


‘A marvellous sampler of quantitative approaches to social science across a range of disciplines. The authors forsake the dry and mechanical overviews that typify introductory texts in favour of focused forays into specific problems, deemed representative of their discipline's theoretical and empirical output. These engrossing stories of research make the volume a lively and informative read.’

John Gerring - author of Social Science Methodology and Case Study Research: Principles and Practices

‘Andrew Gelman and Jeronimo Cortina have put together a unique and important volume covering empirical approaches across the dominant social sciences. Where else would one get detailed advice about specifying, fitting and analyzing quantitative models specifically tailored to five fields written by leaders in those fields? Rather than looking for the lowest-common-factor that relates these areas, the enclosed essays highlight the specialty and diversity of academic social sciences while remaining accessible to students regardless of their individual background. Bracketed by two theoretical discussions, this work provides a stunningly creative approach to broad social science education.’

Jeff Gill - Director of the Center for Applied Statistics, Washington University

‘A Quantitative Tour of the Social Sciences provides an impressive overview of the uses of statistics throughout the social sciences, from psychology to economics, from sociology to political science. The collection of essays is highly accessible and provides excellent examples of statistical methods in the study of human behavior and society.’

Steve Ansolabehere - Professor of Government, Harvard University

‘Despite the commonalities in the questions they seek to answer, researchers in different social sciences tend to use very different methods, often embarrassingly ignorant of what their colleagues in other fields are doing. Based partly on a lecture course at Columbia University designed to remedy this, the Gelman and Cortina collection provides a lucid and readable introduction to the methodological approaches in the different social sciences. Reading this will help empirical researchers in all social sciences broaden their understanding of quantitative methods, and help them choose their methods on the merits, rather that on the basis of what is fashionable in their own field.’

Guido W. Imbens - Professor of Economics, Harvard University

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