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A guide and glossary on postpositivist theory building for population health

Abstract

This guide and glossary focuses on the role of theory and conceptual models within population health research. Upon discussing the critical need for theory in conducting interdisciplinary research, it provides strategies for crafting theories that can be empirically tested and a glossary of theory building terms that are useful for guiding research. In addition to general concepts, the glossary includes some terminology commonly found in the social sciences, whose well established traditions and practices of formal theory building may be particularly informative for epidemiologists and other population health researchers who have minimal formal social science training, but study social factors in their research.

  • population health
  • theory
  • framework
  • model
  • research design

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