Consistent with the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (look it up) I am a great believer in the importance of vocabulary in learning any new area of study. I began compiling my glossary of the social sciences while studying and teaching in Australia in 1996 and have periodically updated it ever since. It has been on the Internet off of my site (and several others) ever since.
A little about the process of creation. I began by consulting numerous glossaries in social problems and introductory texts in sociology. Rather than copying somebody else's definition I would read the definitions from several sources and, combined with my own understanding and use of the terms, create my own definition. (I have noticed, by the way, that in recent years many of my definitions have made it into other glossaries.) I continue adding to the glossary when I encounter a term that is especially useful, newly coined, or that I have missed in the past. Those who use the glossary extensively (and this would mainly be my students as all my classes must master some basic terminology), will note that there is some bias toward macrosociological terms in general, and ecological-evolutionary terms in particular.
I hope you find the glossary useful. If you have any suggestions for additional social science terminology (or
corrections to what I already have) I hope you will take the time to submit
your suggestion to
--Frank W. Elwell (December, 2010)
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