Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Model DisciplinePolitical Science and the Logic of Representations$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195382198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382198.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 November 2020

What Is a Model?

What Is a Model?

Chapter:
(p.52) 3 What Is a Model?
Source:
A Model Discipline
Author(s):

Kevin A. Clarke

David M. Primo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382198.003.0003

Most political scientists would be hard-pressed to provide a definition of the term model that encompasses the many uses to which models can be put. Discussions of models in political science primarily focus on the construction and composition of models, as opposed to what models do or what models are. We are told that models “abstract from reality” and “simplify reality” and that models should “generate interesting hypotheses.” We are told that models contain assumptions and predictions. Without an understanding of what a model is, however, we cannot understand why or how models perform these functions, or why models are constructed in a particular way. In this chapter, we answer the question, “what is a model?” Our answer is that models should be viewed as tools or instruments, in particular, like maps. Both models and maps display limited accuracy, partially represent reality, and most importantly, reflect the interest of the user. That is, models and maps are “purpose relative.”

Keywords:   maps, models, semantic view, model-based view, theories

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .