What can be done about the gap between theory and empirical research? Should sociologists worry that this gap exists? This study argues for a better understanding of the links between theory and research, and provides an analysis of the relationship between the two. Layder suggests ways of integrating theory and research, and develops strategies for bringing them closer together. He attempts to demystify the process of theorizing, arguing that theorizing is an inherently creative activity and should be considered an indispensable feature of social research. Layder places his discussion within the context of current social theory and the philosophy of social science, and seeks to develop clear usable strategies to encourage theory development in the practical context of social research. He also introduces "adaptive theory" which can be used to generated new theory as well as develop existing theory in conjunction with empirical research. He concludes by providing an outline of new rules of sociological method which show how adaptive theory can be put into practice.