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The sociological methodologist Lieberson* tells us that attempting to model
sociological research after physics in the sense of the correlational
approach has seriously hampered progress in our discipline. Rather, he
advocates that if we consider methods from the natural sciences, we would do
better to consider evolutionary biology. The theory of evolution arose on
the basis of pattern matching and pattern analogy, without much statistical
grounding. Thinking about social networks this way will help us understand
more deeply their theoretical implications.
* Annual Review 2002, "Barking Up the Wrong Branch: Scientific Alternatives
to the Current Model of Sociological Science."
Department of Sociology
Institute for Global Studies
909 Social Science Building
University of Minnesota
267 19th Ave. S.
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