Titel: Explaining and Understanding by Answering `Why\' and `How\' Questions: A Programmatic Introduction to the Special Issue Social Mechanisms
Autor: Ulf Tranow, Tilo Beckers and Dominik Becker
Titel: Contextualizing Cognitive Consonance by a Social Mechanisms Explanation: Moderators of Selective Exposure in Media Usage
Autor: Dominik Becker, Tilo Beckers, Simon Tobias Franzmann and Jörg Hagenah
While many studies from analytical sociology apply agent-based modeling to analyze the transformational mechanisms linking the micro to the macro level, we hold the view that both situational and action formation mechanisms can rather be unveiled by means of more advanced quantitative methods. By focusing on selective exposure to quality newspapers, our study has both an analytical and a substantive aim. First, our analytical aim is to amend the psychological mechanism of avoiding cognitive dissonance by social mechanisms allowing postulates on how the selectiveexposure effect might vary by particular social groups. Second, our substantive aim is to set the ground for a longitudinal analysis of selective exposure to quality papers by placing these social mechanisms in the context of social and cultural change. By referring to hypothetical data, we illustrate which kind of (multilevel) moderator effects would have to hold if our hypotheses were true.
Titel: A Methodological Outlook on Causal Identification and Empirical Methods for the Analysis of Social Mechanisms
Autor: Dominik Becker
The debate on empirical tests of social mechanisms suffers from a fragmented view on the relative benefit of the empirical method a researcher considers to be superior, compared to the flaws of all other methods. In this outlook, I argue that disciplinary barriers might be surmounted by a common methodological perspective on the analysis of social mechanisms. First, experimental, quantitative, qualitative, and simulation methods (agent-based modeling) are all required, but also capable to deal with the issue of causal identification, respectively. Second, having established causal identification (among which I subsume strategies to deal with causal heterogeneity), each method disposes of genuine techniques to deal with the most crucial property of mechanism-based explanations: input-mechanism-output (IMO) relations.
2016 (38) Heft 1
Guest Editors: Ulf Tranow, Tilo Beckers and Dominik Becker