SOCI 211

CHAPTER 16 – THE ELABORATION MODEL

Elaboration model: a logical approach to understanding the relationship

between 2 variables thru the simultaneous introduction of a 3rd variable, usually

referred to as a control/test variable. Though developed primarily thru the

medium of contingency tables, it may be used with other statistical techniques.

The various outcomes of an elaboration analysis include replication,

specification, explanation, & interpretation.

It aims to elaborate on an empirical relationship among variables in order

to interpret that relationship

The central logic begins w/ an observed relationship between 2 variables

& the possibility that one variable may be causing the other.

Sometimes the analysis reveals the mechanisms thru which the causal

relationship occurs. Other times an elaboration analysis disproves the

existence of a causal relationship altogether.

Having observed an empirical relationship between 2 variables (level of

education & acceptance of induction), we seek to understand the nature of

that relationship thru the effect produced by introducing other variables

(such as having friends who were deferred). We do this by 1st dividing our

sample into subsets on the basis of the test variable (control variable).

Test variable: a variable that is held constant in an attempt to clarify

further the relationship between 2 other variables.

EX: Having discovered a relationship between education &

prejudice, we might hold gender constant by examining the

relationship between education & prejudice among men only &

then among women only. In this ex, gender is the test variable.

The relationship between the original 2 variables (acceptance of induction

& level of education) is then recomputed separately for each of the

subsamples. The tables produced in this manner are called the partial

tables, & the relationships found in the partial tables are called the partial

relationships.

Partial relationships: the relationship between 2 variables when

examined in a subset of cases defined by a 3rd (test) variable.

EX: beginning w/ a zero-ordered relationship between income &

attitudes toward gender equality. We want to see whether the

relationship holds true among ♂ & ♀ (that is, controlling for

gender). The relationship found among ♂ & the relationship found

among ♀ would be the partial relationships, aka the partials.

The partial relationships are then compared w/ the initial relationship

discovered in the total sample, often referred to as the zero-order

relationship to indicate that no test variables have been controlled for.