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 nomological approach is quasi-nomothetic it assumes some kind of cause and effect model.

explanatory context

Nomological refers to the study and discovery of general physical and logical laws. Various dictionaries state variations on the idea that nomological is defined as relating to or denoting principles that resemble physical laws or rules.

analytical review

McNabb (2010, p. 244) states:

Nomology is the science of laws, and the nomological approach to a discipline attempts to discern fundamental laws that can be used to explain and eventually predict future events.

Eidlin (2010) writes:

The deductive–nomological model is a widely accept ed account of the nature of scientific explanation. It is often called the covering law model (CLM), or the Hempel–Oppenheim model . In an explanation under the deductive–nomological model, the explicandum is some phenomenon requiring explanation. The explicans of the explicandum removes the puzzling or problematic character of the explicandum by showing the phenomenon to be a particular case of a known general law. In other words, according to the CLM, explanation orders experience by bringing particular instances under general principles. The more particular instances can be brought under a more general principle, the better the explanation. Explanation progresses from the less general to the more general

associated issues


related areas

See also




scientific method


Eidlin, F., 2010,'Deductive–Nomological Model of Explanation' in Albert J. Mills & Gabrielle Durepos & Eiden Wiebe (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Case Study Research, available at, accessed 18 March 2013, page not freely available 24 December 2016.

McNabb, D.E., 2010, Research Methods for Political Science: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, Armonk NY, M.E. Sharpe.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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