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Usable Social Science$
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Neil J. Smelser and Bob Adamson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273566

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273566.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021



The Problem and Our Take on It

(p.1) Introduction
Usable Social Science

Neil J. Smelser

John S. Reed

University of California Press

The authors’ present their general outlook on the usability of social-science knowledge. They acknowledge and summarize a number of social-engineering, medical, and rational approaches, but they find all of them overly simple and limited in applicability to real problems. They identify business, professional, academic, government, and public audiences for the book. The intent of this work is contrasted with encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries. The authors place themselves in a middle, contingent position with respect to formulaic solutions of the problem of usability on the one hand and radical skepticism on the other.

Keywords:   decision making, medical analogies, rational choice, social engineering, usability

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