Over the past few decades serious reservations have been expressed about the explanatory power of sociological theory and research. In this important book, leading social theorist Peter Hedstrom outlines the foundations of an analytically oriented sociology that seeks to address this criticism. Building on his earlier influential contributions to contemporary debates, Professor Hedstrom argues for a systematic development of sociological theory so that it has the explanatory power and precision to inform sociological research and understanding. He discusses various mechanisms of action and interaction and shows how strong links can be forged between the micro and the macro, and between theory and empirical research. Combining new approaches to theory and methodology and using extensive examples to illustrate how they might be applied, this clear, concise and original book will appeal to a broad range of social scientists.