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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core definition

A metaphor is an instance of a word or phrase applied to an object or action to which it does not literraly apply, as, for example, in' food for thought'.

explanatory context

The term metaphor is often used in a rather wider sense in social research generally to mean something which stands in place of a (usually more complex) concept in order to render the replaced concept intelligible.


In structuralist analysis the term metaphor is sometimes used in place of synchrony.

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also



copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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