Analytical sociology is, as its proponents say, a meta-theory of how to conduct social research. In their contribution to Gianluca Manzo's Analytical Sociology: Actions and Networks Peter Hedström and Petri Ylikoski offer these core principles:
- provide explanations of social outcomes of interest based on the mechanisms that produce them;
- identify mechanisms at the level of the actors who make up those outcomes
- strive for realism in assumptions and hypotheses
- be pluralistic about theories of actor motivation and decision making processes; and
- build explanations from individuals to social outcomes.