The Niche Hiker's guide to population ecology: a logical recontruction of organization ecology's niche theory
Faculty of Applied Economics
San Francisco, Calif.
Sociological methodology / American Sociological Association. - San Francisco, Calif.
, p. 1-46
University of Antwerp
Logical formalization is a formal method for the analysis of theoretical arguments in the social sciences. Hannan and Freemans organizational niche theory (1989) is rebuilt by means of First- Order Logic, and its predictions are derived as theorems. Translation into a formal language makes the theorys inference structure transparent and accessible to discussion, repair, and development. The consistency of the model can be checked by computational means. The logical approach helps to specify niche theorys domain; it points out hidden assumptions, highlights spots where the reasoning has to be modified, and provides solid foundations for further theory building. Moreover, the established premise set also allows for the deduction of some new results. Logical formalization supports empirical research by delineating constraints on and explicit relations between sociological concepts, facilitating their appropriate operationalization