This volume provides a new set of tools for creating and analysing theories. Computer-Assisted Theory Building
re-orients the way many social scientists build and work with theories, and it will prove of value to all practising social science theorists. Because verbal formulations are insufficiently specific and mathematical formulations are often too restrictive, the author proposes a new formal language as a middle way between the two, advocating computer simulation models to allow the formulation of more dynamic theories. Hanneman's theories and models should stimulate the development of more powerful explanatory theories in many social science disciplines.
The volume is divided into three parts; Part One provides all the tools necessary to understand the models developed later, and to begin translating existing theories into formal dynamic models by using a semi-formal language, DYNAMO. In Part Two, some widely-used simple systems are presented within the framework of dynamic systems, and are examined as building blocks for more complex models. In Part Three, increasingly complex models — representing all system types needed to build theories about phenomena of any degree of complexity — are explored through the use of computer-assisted simulation models.