This paper examines the usefulness for theoretical work of the narrative method proposed by Peter Abell. Our assessment proceeds by using the narrative method to perform the two main tasks of theoretical analysis—constructing postulates and deriving predictions. To illustrate, we focus on the theory of distributive justice and the more general theory of comparison processes to which it led. The results of our assessment of the usefulness of Abell's narrative method for theoretical work indicate that the narrative method has far wider applicability than Abell has claimed for it. For example, (i) it is useful for all theoretical work in the sociobehavioral sciences, not only for theoretical work based on game theory, (ii) it is useful for analyzing thought-experiments as well as narrative accounts of actual actions and events, and (iii) the events in the narrative need not be restricted to human actions but can include events not traceable to human agency. We conclude also that Abell's narrative method complements the use of mathematical analysis in theoretical work and that it may be especially valuable for theoretical derivation involving two or more theories jointly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Algebra and Number Theory
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science