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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Stochastic model

core definition

Stochastic models usually refer to mathematical models with one or more components that depend upon a random variable.

explanatory context

Stochastic models are, therefore, sometimes referred to as probablistic models or as nondeterministic models.

All models used in the statistical analysis of data are stochastic models.

Stochastic process models

Stochastic process models refer to a particular usage of the more general notion of stochastic model. Recent usage of the term stochastic models has tended to delimit them to those associated with the theory of stochastic processes. In this sense, stochastic modelling is used to describe probabalistic behaviour over time (or space).

There are several general classes of stochastic process models including the following.


Birth and death processes, used in demographic models of population changes.

Branching processes, used, for example, in the analysis of family trees and the extinction of family names.


Continuous-time Markov processes, used, for example, in analysing occupational and social mobility.

Random walk, used, for example, in the analysis of the movement of stock market prices.

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also



copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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