Quantifying paradigm change in demography

Jakub Bijak, Daniel Courgeau, Eric Silverman, Robert Franck

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    Background: Demography is a uniquely empirical research area amongst the social sciences. We posit that the same principle of empiricism should be applied to studies of the population sciences as a discipline, contributing to greater self-awareness amongst its practitioners.

    Objective: The paper aims to include measurable data in the study of changes in selected demographic paradigms and perspectives.

    Methods: The presented analysis is descriptive and is based on a series of simple measures obtained from the free online tool Google Books Ngram Viewer, which includes frequencies of word groupings (n-grams) in different collections of books digitised by Google.

    Results: The tentative findings corroborate the shifts in the demographic paradigms identified in the literature -- from cross-sectional, through longitudinal, to event-history and multilevel approaches.

    Conclusions: These findings identify a promising area of enquiry into the development of demography as a social science discipline. We postulate that more detailed enquiries in this area in the future could lead to establishing History of Population Thought as a new sub-discipline within population sciences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)911-924
    JournalDemographic Research
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2014

    Bibliographical note

    All work published in Demographic Research is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, 2.0 Germany. For full details see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/de/deed.en [Accessed: 19/04/2016]


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