Article Text

Download PDFPDF
A guide and glossary on postpositivist theory building for population health


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

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • In this issue
    Carlos Alvarez-Dardet John R Ashton