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The Art of Social Theory$
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Richard Swedberg

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155227

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155227.001.0001

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Social Observation

Social Observation

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter 2 Social Observation
Source:
The Art of Social Theory
Author(s):

Richard Swedberg

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691155227.003.0003

This chapter argues that creative theorizing in social science has to begin with observation. The way one observes at the early stage of the research differs from the way one does it later. What matters at this point is to get a real sense for the topic so that one can develop some good ideas, which may later be used to construct a theory. This means, among other things, that one has to open oneself up to what is happening, with all one's sense as well as with one's subconscious. Moreover, what matters at this stage is not only to collect data but also to collect social data. This means data about social life, about what happens between people who live in groups, communities, and societies.

Keywords:   creative theorizing, social science, observation, theory, social data, social life

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