Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-19, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 23 January, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2019.


A fast-paced novel of conjecture and surprises


Covering-law model

core definition

The covering-law model is one in which the observation or relationship to be explained is ‘covered’ by a general statement about such observations or relationships.

explanatory context

To explain an observation or relationship in this way it is suggested that we must use a covering law that has been tested in the past.


Covering-law models also have the distinctive feature that they not only ‘explain’ but also ‘predict’ future observations. The covering-law model applies the principles of the natural science approach and is sometimes also known as the hypothetico-deductive model.


It is arguable whether finding a covering law is either a necessary or sufficient condition for explaining a phenomenon.

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also

hypothetical deduction


copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2019


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