Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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Action theory

core definition

Action theory refers to an approach to sociology that regards meaningful social action as the basis of sociological enquiry.

explanatory context

The focus of attention in this approach is the motivation of a hypothetical social actor, who is a typical individual in a typical social situation.


Action theory is developed in the Weberian approach.


Action theory is discussed in more detail in the entry on social action

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also

social action



Researching the Real World Section



copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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