Problems Of Method In The Development Of Propositional Inventories In The Field Of Disaster Research

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Disaster Research Center
At present the term "propositional inventory" has a wide variety of meanings in the behavioral sciences. The term has been used, for instance, as a synonym for "annotated bibliography" (Committee, 1953), for a "list of references" (Bonjean, 1967), for a "descriptive compendium" (Allswang and Bova, 1964) and for "psychological tests" (Holtzman,1970). A number of scholars (Price, 1968; Williams, circa 1939; Borelson and Steiner, 1964) include in the term discussion and evaluation of the propositions as well as definitions of the concepts used in them. Goode (1971) however, restricts, I think appropriately, the meaning of the term to a listing of formal declarative statements of relations between two or more variables. Of course, authors differ in the extent to which they use a propositional format. Thus, for instance, Perry, Gillespie, and Mileti (1974), Marsh (1967), Drabek, Haas and Mileti (1975), and Kreps and Weller (1974), in contrast to Barton (1969) and Dynes (1970), explicitly attempt to generate and integrate propositions in their work of synthesis and model building. As is generally recognized (Price, 1968: 10-11; Zetterberg, 1965) the conceptual and methodological difficulties involved in constructing propositions and propositional inventories are many. This paper attempts to make explicit these difficulties and to offer tentative solutions to some of them. Hopefully, others will in the future modify, amend, correct, and otherwise improve on what is offered here.
Method, Inventories, Propositions