Putting typologies to work: Concept formation, measurement, and analytic rigor

David Collier*, Jody LaPorte, Jason Seawright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


Typologies are well-established analytic tools in the social sciences. They can be "put to work" in forming concepts, refining measurement, exploring dimensionality, and organizing explanatory claims. Yet some critics, basing their arguments on what they believe are relevant norms of quantitative measurement, consider typologies old-fashioned and unsophisticated. This critique is methodologically unsound, and research based on typologies can and should proceed according to high standards of rigor and careful measurement. These standards are summarized in guidelines for careful work with typologies, and an illustrative inventory of typologies, as well as a brief glossary, are included online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-232
Number of pages16
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • concept formation
  • levels of measurement
  • measurement
  • multimethod research
  • qualitative methods
  • scale types
  • typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Putting typologies to work: Concept formation, measurement, and analytic rigor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this