The Pitfalls of Post-Factum Sociological Interpretation: A Classroom Demonstration

Document Type



Published by the American Sociological Association in Teaching Sociology , volume 17 issue 3, 1989. Bryant users may access this article here.

Publication Source

Teaching Sociology


"Hindsight is perfect." In our discipline the implications of this adage can be found in discussions of the pitfalls of post-factum sociological interpretation. The essence of such discussions is that theories always can be molded to fit the patterns we find in our data. My intent in this paper is to present a classroom technique for demonstrating the post-factum interpretation problem.