The Positivist Toolbox
This chapter includes what we call “positivist tools” of analysis, and we present them to you in the form of a toolbox. Think about the metaphor of a toolbox for a minute. Suppose that you were repairing a fence in your backyard. We decide that you need some tools to help you build the fence, and we want to teach you how to use the tools necessary to build a fence. We are skilled but practical carpenters who don’t lift weights, so our toolbox only has tools in it that we use a lot. We have removed tools that we rarely, if ever, use. To build a fence, you only need a few tools (a hammer, a drill, a tape measure, a level, a power saw, and a handsaw). When we show up at your door, we don’t have to teach you how to use all of the tools in the toolbox. Instead, you need only learn how to use those tools necessary to build a fence. But in the future, when you decide to build a new deck in your backyard, you will know that you have a toolbox nearby with all the major tools necessary to build the deck.