Flashcards in INRS 7311 : An Introduction to Definitions , Paradigms and Theories in Research Theme 3 Theories in Research Deck (6):
Discuss the nature and characteristics of theory . 12 marks
*Broad definition : Systematic description of concepts , constructs and relationships of specific processes or phenomena in a given discipline .
*Nature of theories = Theories are only partial explanations that will never fully explain the human condition . Theories are all subject to change as they can be altered via existing evidence to support an alternate view .
*Types of theory = Common sense theories(based on opinions) , working theories(accepted ways of doing things) , scholarly theories(constructed using evidence gotten via systematic research)
Explain the basic components of theory 15 marks
*Assumptions : An unconfirmed first statement about the theory . Serves as a departure point .
*Concepts : A label and a definition . Important so as not to lose meaning in relation to the research .
*Relationships : Exist between concepts and explains the basic association between them . Described by a theoretical statement .
*Explanation and prediction : Prediction is a statement of certainty about a particular outcome . Explanation includes a logical argument .
*Causal explanation : Interpretive = an increased understanding of a particular event .Structural : Allows the placing of the event in a broader structure .
Explain the functions of a theory 6 marks
*1: To organize a range of experiences into smaller categories
*2: To ID and select which concepts/area of an event should be studied .
*3a(Qualitative) : Predict and control aspects of a phenomenon
*3b : ID which variables are used to test a phenomenon .
*4: Challenge status quo / contest a particular social practice / generate new ways of thinking .
*5 : Promote a particular concept .
*6 : Explain the relationship between concepts .
Explain the criteria used for evaluating theories : 18 possible marks .
*Theoretical scope : Refers to how broad or general a theory is in explaining a phenomenon or range of phenomenon . Theory must find balance of being broad and specific .
*Appropriateness : Relates to the soundness and consistency between a theory and its underlying assumptions .
*Heuristic value: Does the theory stimulate further investigation and discovery of new ideas related to the theory .
*Validity : Relates to the truth value of the experience described . How truthfully does the theory relate the experience it describes .
*Parsimony : How simply does a theory explain complex aspects of a phenomenon .
*Openness : The degree of flexibility in which the theory allows other explanations , interpretations and improvements to it .
Illustrate, explain and provide examples of inductive and deductive reasoning . 6-8 marks
*Inductive reasoning : We infer theoretical concepts from collected data from a study . We move from SPECIFIC to the general . Often referred to as bottom up approach . eg I had a good English teacher last year . I have a good English teacher this year . Therefore , all English teacher are good .
Deductive : Goes from general assumptions to specific . Also referred to as top down theorising . e.g : South Africa has warm weather . Durban is in South Africa . Therefore Durban has warm weather .