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Psychologisches Institut

Workshop 4: Building and testing theories


Barry Markovsky (University of South Carolina) and Klaus Fiedler (University of Heidelberg)


This workshop is designed for researchers in the social and behavioral sciences who recognize that a better theory leads to better research and applications. We focus on key issues in the construction and analysis of rigorous, explicit theories, and their evaluation via strong empirical tests. Applications and illustrations largely will fall within the realms of sociology and psychology, however the methods we present are consistent with approaches inherent to all sciences. On the theory side, we will look at (1) defining simple, transparent systems of theoretical terms to communicate the key concepts we wish to employ; (2) connecting terms via causal propositions; (3) combining propositions into valid theoretical arguments; and (4) deriving hypotheses for empirical testing. On the research side, we illustrate the worth of strong theorizing with impressive examples of outstanding research on such topics as (a) metacognition and learning, (b) cognitive psychology and the law, (c) and sampling approaches to judgment and decision making.

Although the focus of the workshop is on theorizing, the participants will be encouraged to jointly design and conduct theory-driven empirical research projects, as it is customary for EASP summer school workshops.


For more information about the workshop leaders, please consult their university web pages:



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