Underlying Nagi’s lifelong body of work is a belief that understanding the nature of the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of research and the role of research in society is indispensible in the pursuit of scholarship and practical knowledge. Toward this end, Nagi and colleague Ronald G. Corwin collected chapters from a number of scholars in the edited volume The Social Contexts of Research. Nagi and Corwin contributed jointly authored chapters on the nature of research and an illustrative case analysis of educational research.
For most of his tenure in the Sociology Department at Ohio State University, Nagi also taught a well-received graduate course on Theory Construction and Verification. At its core, the course was an exercise in how to organize one’s thoughts about problems and formulate theories and hypotheses to pursue research.