Theory and concepts in PG research. This theory has interesting implications not only for traditional crimes, but also for contemporary white-collar crimes such as insider trading, software piracy, and illegal sharing of music. For instance, Markus (1987) [3] used analogic similarities between a nuclear explosion and uncontrolled growth of networks or network-based businesses to propose a critical mass theory of network growth. IDT has been criticized for having a “pro-innovation bias,” that is for presuming that all innovations are beneficial and will be eventually diffused across the entire population, and because it does not allow for inefficient innovations such as fads or fashions to die off quickly without being adopted by the entire population or being replaced by better innovations. Given the nature of their underlying assumptions, economic and political theories are not directly comparable, and researchers should not use economic theories if their objective is to understand the power structure or its evolution in a organization. In this chapter, we will examine what is a theory, why do we need theories in research, what are the building blocks of a theory, how to evaluate theories, how can we apply theories in research, and also presents illustrative examples of five theories frequently used in social science research. Because a theory is too general to test, the investigator devises a hypothesis —a testable prediction—from the theory and tests the hypothesis instead of a general theory. When you do research you are basically trying to answer one of several questions, What, Why and how are the most fundamental ones. Concepts are highly subjective in nature and that makes it difficult to use them as they are in a research study. Agency Theory. Postulated by Azjen (1991) [5] , the theory of planned behavior (TPB) is a generalized theory of human behavior in the social psychology literature that can be used to study a wide range of individual behaviors. All adopters are not identical, and adopters can be classified into innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards based on their time of their adoption. In accordance with the main objective of research, Kothari … Other examples of quantitative variables include pe… The process of contemplative and rational thinking often is associated with such processes like observational study, research. The distinction between propositions (formulated at the theoretical level) and hypotheses (tested at the empirical level) is depicted in Figure 4.1. Role of Theory in Research The concept of the theory is significant in any discipline that considers itself scientific or scholarly. Compounding the nature of the problem may be information asymmetry problems caused by the principal’s inability to adequately observe the agent’s behavior or accurately evaluate the agent’s skill sets. Likewise, theories may have implicit cultural assumptions (e.g., whether they apply to individualistic or collective cultures), temporal assumptions (e.g., whether they apply to early stages or later stages of human behavior), and spatial assumptions (e.g., whether they apply to certain localities but not to others). Innovation diffusion theory (IDT) is a seminal theory in the communications literature that explains how innovations are adopted within a population of potential adopters. hypothesis: A conditional statement that is logically consistent with a theory and can be tested with observations. As you evaluate research, and consider your own research topic, you will find that “philosophy, theory, and method are interrelated and fit together like pieces in a puzzle . Theories can be verified by experiments or by methodological observation. It can be defined as “a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained” (Oxford dictionary). Elaboration likelihood is a situational characteristic and not a personal trait. The second approach to theory building is to conduct a bottom-up conceptual analysis to identify different sets of predictors relevant to the phenomenon of interest using a predefined framework. Some experts say that grounded research separates theory and data, while others say it combines the two. Furthermore, observing certain patterns of events will not necessarily make a theory, unless the researcher is able to provide consistent explanations for the observed patterns. These subjective thoughts cannot be measured on a statistical scale. New York: The Free Press. A concept is an abstraction that describes a portion of reality. The concept of the theory is significant in any discipline that considers itself scientific or scholarly. For example, you did poorly on an exam because: (1) you forgot that you had an exam on that day, (2) you arrived late to the exam due to a traffic jam, (3) you panicked midway through the exam, (4) you had to work late the previous evening and could not study for the exam, or even (5) your dog ate your text book. Explanations can be idiographic or nomothetic. Internal controls may include the person’s ability to perform the intended behavior (self-efficacy), while external control refers to the availability of external resources needed to perform that behavior (facilitating conditions). There are many theories, concepts, models, frameworks and tools in the area of business that you will have to use at some stage of your studies. GDT examines why certain individuals engage in deviant, anti-social, or criminal behaviors. Theory as orientation. A is a quantity or quality that varies across people or situations. Fourth, theories can contribute to cumulative knowledge building by bridging gaps between other theories and by causing existing theories to be reevaluated in a new light. The concept was first studied by French sociologist Gabriel Tarde, but the theory was developed by Everett Rogers in 1962 based on observations of 508 diffusion studies. FreeBookSummary.com . 2) Descriptive - gathers descriptive data to describe what is really happening. We begin with the issue of the ontological status of a concept. While classical positivist research in criminology seeks generalized causes of criminal behaviors, such as poverty, lack of education, psychological conditions, and recommends strategies to rehabilitate criminals, such as by providing them job training and medical treatment, GDT focuses on the criminal decision making process and situational factors that influence that process. Theories are simplified and often partial explanations of complex social reality. Without logic, propositions will be ad hoc, arbitrary, and meaningless, and cannot be tied into a cohesive “system of propositions” that is the heart of any theory. This is somewhat an inductive method or approach. The distinction between constructs (conceptualized at the theoretical level) and variables (measured at the empirical level) is shown in Figure 4.1. Innovation adoption also depends on personal factors such as the adopter’s risk- taking propensity, education level, cosmopolitanism, and communication influence. Diffusion of Innovations . Propositions are associations postulated between constructs based on deductive logic. Elaboration Likelihood Model . Innovation diffusion theory. A tool is “a thing used to perform a job”[6]. A theory is an explanation of some aspect of reality. A developmental psychologist begins a research study after developing ideas from a theory, or an integrated set of statements, that explain various phenomena. Developed by Petty and Cacioppo (1986) [7], the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) is a dual-process theory of attitude formation or change in the psychology literature. Propositions are stated in declarative form and should ideally indicate a cause-effect relationship (e.g., if X occurs, then Y will follow). All researchers should consider the theoretical basis for their studies very early on in the planning stage. A theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The latter construct was added by Ajzen in TPB to account for circumstances when people may have incomplete control over their own behaviors (such as not having high-speed Internet access for web surfing). In the peripheral route, subjects rely on external “cues” such as number of prior users, endorsements from experts, or likeability of the endorser, rather than on the quality of arguments, in framing their attitude towards the target object. Theory Development 1. While some constructs, such as age, education, and firm size, are easy to understand, others, such as creativity, prejudice, and organizational agility, may be more complex and abstruse, and still others such as trust, attitude, and learning, may represent temporal tendencies rather than steady states. Keywords: Theory, Constructs, Concepts, Practice, Research, Neo-institutional, Grounded Theory, Substantive Theory, Worldviews Introduction The importance of theory in research cannot be underestimated. Innovations may include new technologies, new practices, or new ideas, and adopters may be individuals or organizations. Prototype theory derives in large part from the work of Eleanor Rosch and her collaborators (Rosch, 197… The core assumptions of this theory are that human beings are self-interested individuals, boundedly rational, and risk-averse, and the theory can be applied at the individual or organizational level. It is a general name for specific instances of the phenomenon described. Subjective norm refers to one’s perception of whether people important to that person expect the person to perform the intended behavior, and represented as a weighted combination of the expected norms of different referent groups such as friends, colleagues, or supervisors at work. Thethree main options are to identify concepts with mentalrepresentations, with abilities, and with abstract objects such asFregean senses. If a theory is to be properly used or tested, all of its implicit assumptions that form the boundaries of that theory must be properly understood. Theories are formulated to explain, predict, and understand phenomena and, in many cases, to challenge and extend existing knowledge within the limits of critical bounding assumptions. A is a quantity, such as height, that is typically measured by assigning a number to each individual. This unit shows how facts can be subordinated to general principles or laws and how they relate to them. An employee stock option plans are is an example of an outcome-based contract while employee pay is a behavior-based contract. The concepts of a research study relate back to the theory. How can we evaluate the “goodness” of a given theory? If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. This ability and motivation to elaborate is called elaboration likelihood . Role of Theory in Research. The two parties in this theory are the principal and the agent; the principal employs the agent to perform certain tasks on its behalf. The focus of GDT is not how to rehabilitate criminals and avert future criminal behaviors, but how to make criminal activities less attractive and therefore prevent crimes. They begin as a conceptual framework and with much research, develop into a research-based framework Theory 1. Because nomothetic explanations are designed to be generalizable across situations, events, or people, they tend to be less precise, less complete, and less detailed. People in a state of high elaboration likelihood (high ability and high motivation) are more likely to thoughtfully process the information presented and are therefore more influenced by argument quality, while those in the low elaboration likelihood state are more motivated by peripheral cues. Second, they aid in sense-making by helping us synthesize prior empirical findings within a theoretical framework and reconcile contradictory findings by discovering contingent factors influencing the relationship between two constructs in different studies. Much of the skepticism about theory is based on the assumption that education in general, and educational administration in particular, is art, not science, a skepticism that has plagued all social sciences. INTRODUCTION AND CONCEPT OF RESEARCH Presenter Name Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Theoretical Framework provides a broad explanation of the relationships that exists between concepts based on one theory. Distinction between theoretical and empirical concepts. Concepts are “collectives used to label certain bits of experience. The ELM posits that one’s attitude may be shaped by two “routes” of influence, the central route and the peripheral route, which differ in the amount of thoughtful information processing or “elaboration” required of people (see Figure 4.5). Every science is organized by … A theory is a unit of knowledge that comprises facts, assumptions and hypotheses. “The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal’s Problem,” American Economic Review (63:2), 134-139. • Understand the role of background and theoretical knowledge in social and behavioral research. (2007) “A Guide to Managing Research” Juta Publications  p.45, [3] Monette, D.R., Gullivan, T.J. & DeJong, C.R. Theories are explanations of a natural or social behavior, event, or phenomenon. Recall from Chapter 2 that constructs may be unidimensional (i.e., embody a single concept), such as weight or age, or multi-dimensional (i.e., embody multiple underlying concepts), such as personality or culture. These theories explain different types of social behaviors, using a set of constructs, propositions, boundary conditions, assumptions, and underlying logic. The concept was first studied by French sociologist Gabriel Tarde, but the theory was developed by Everett Rogers in 1962 based on observations of 508 diffusion studies. that establish the way that something operates”[5]. While making such an extension, certain concepts, propositions, and/or boundary conditions of the old theory may be retained and others modified to fit the new context. Note that propositions may be conjectural but MUST be testable, and should be rejected if they are not supported by empirical observations. Third, theories provide guidance for future research by helping identify constructs and relationships that are worthy of further research. It is related to abstract concepts or ideas. In contrast, nomothetic explanations seek to explain a class of situations or events rather than a specific situation or event. Exemplar models were also being developed during this time, but the prototype theory encapsulated many of the views which were the foils against which the Theory-Theory developed its main assumptions. As in many fields of science, IS scholars’ ability to under-stand and contribute to theory is an important qualification in research practice. As simplified explanations of reality, theories may not always provide adequate explanations of the phenomenon of interest based on a limited set of constructs and relationships. Theories play a role in both quantitative and qualitative research. Innovation diffusion theory (IDT) is a seminal theory in the communications literature that explains how innovations are adopted within a population of potential adopters. • General principles and ideas about a subject; • An idea or opinion that someone thinks is true but for which they have no proof (Longman 2003). Idiographic explanations are those that explain a single situation or event in idiosyncratic detail. After reviewing this chapter readers should be able to: • Understand basic concepts of causality in terms of 2x2 tables. In this section, we present brief overviews of a few illustrative theories from different social science disciplines. Alternatively, concepts are “mental constructs or images developed to symbolise ideas, persons, things, or events”[3], Model can be defined as “a set of ideas and numbers that describe the past, present or future state of something”[4], A framework is “a system of rules, laws, agreements, etc. This deductive approach leverages the rich inventory of social science theories developed by prior theoreticians, and is an efficient way of building new theories by building on existing ones. “Toward a ‘Critical Mass’ Theory of Interactive Media: Universal Access, Interdependence, and Diffusion,” Communication Research (14:5), 491-511. The difference between these two objectives is grounded in the purpose of the research. In the sphere of education, a theory can be defined as a pool of principle and concepts purposed to explain a given phenomenon (Cooper et al., 2004). While the principal’s goal is quick and effective completion of the assigned task, the agent’s goal may be working at its own pace, avoiding risks, and seeking self-interest (such as personal pay) over corporate interests. In contrast, explanations require causations , or understanding of cause-effect relationships. Philosophers have long used conceptual research to develop new theories or interpret existing theories in a different light. Nevertheless, all constructs must have clear and unambiguous operational definition that should specify exactly how the construct will be measured and at what level of analysis (individual, group, organizational, etc.). Grounded research is when the theory is developed using the facts. However, like constructs, propositions are stated at the theoretical level, and they can only be tested by examining the corresponding relationship between measurable variables of those constructs. . Scientific theories are different from theological, philosophical, or other explanations in that scientific theories can be empirically tested using scientific methods. (1990). Likewise, a collection of constructs (e.g., a typology of constructs) is not a theory, because theories must go well beyond constructs to include propositions, explanations, and boundary conditions. General Deterrence Theory. The two general objectives of research are theory-building and fact-finding. This requires solid foundations for why we engage with theory, what theory is for us, and Theory can be defined as “a formal logical explanation of some events that includes predictions of how things relate to one another”[1]. Constructs are abstract concepts specified at a high level of abstraction that are chosen specifically to explain the phenomenon of interest. As such, there can be good explanations or poor explanations, and consequently, there can be good theories or poor theories. (1991). [4] Ross, S. A. “Organizational Theories: Some Criteria for Evaluation,” Academy of Management Review (14:4), 496-515. Finally, all theories are constrained by assumptions about values, time, and space, and boundary conditions that govern where the theory can be applied and where it cannot be applied. ), Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. On the other hand, … Theory is not data, facts, typologies, taxonomies, or empirical findings. For example, many economic theories assume that human beings are rational (or boundedly rational) and employ utility maximization based on cost and benefit expectations as a way of understand human behavior. Such asymmetry may lead to agency problems where the agent may not put forth the effort needed to get the task done (the moral hazard problem) or may misrepresent its expertise or skills to get the job but not perform as expected (the adverse selection problem). [7] Petty, R. E., and Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Theory as a conceptualization and classification. For instance, market analysts predict fluctuations in the stock market based on market announcements, earnings reports of major companies, and new data from the Federal Reserve and other agencies, based on previously observed correlations . Theories are designed to be simple and parsimonious explanations, while reality may be significantly more complex. As we know from previous chapters, science is knowledge represented as a collection of “theories” derived using the scientific method. Measurable representations of abstract constructs are called variables . Hence, agency theory recommends using outcome-based contracts, such as a commissions or a fee payable upon task completion, or mixed contracts that combine behavior-based and outcome-based incentives. There are many benefits to using theories in research. A theory is a scientifically credible general principle that explains a phenomenon. It unpacks the meaning of the two terms, and how they are related, making the case for theory as ‘tool’ in research that needs to be firmly connected to methodology, and data analysis. The last two characteristics have since been dropped from many innovation studies. http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/oa_textbooks/3/, CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. [1] Bacharach, S. B. Note that the following represents just a simplistic introduction to these theories; readers are advised to consult the original sources of these theories for more details and insights on each theory. First, theories provide the underlying logic of the occurrence of natural or social phenomenon by explaining what are the key drivers and key outcomes of the target phenomenon and why, and what underlying processes are responsible driving that phenomenon. Five innovation characteristics are presumed to shape adopters’ innovation adoption decisions: (1) relative advantage: the expected benefits of an innovation relative to prior innovations, (2) compatibility: the extent to which the innovation fits with the adopter’s work habits, beliefs, and values, (3) complexity: the extent to which the innovation is difficult to learn and use, (4) trialability: the extent to which the innovation can be tested on a trial basis, and (5) observability: the extent to which the results of using the innovation can be clearly observed. [1]. This type of theory takes questions and comparisons and uses explicit procedures to guide this type of research. A collection of facts is not a theory, just as a pile of stones is not a house. (1989). The following are the most popular ones listed in alphabetical order: Some of the above (hyperlinked) are explained in this portal. In other words, they are elementary constructs by which reality is classified and categorised”[2]. For instance, a doctor may employ the central route for diagnosing and treating a medical ailment (by virtue of his or her expertise of the subject), but may rely on peripheral cues from auto mechanics to understand the problems with his car. New York: Springer-Verlag. and Fulk, J. Constructs are conceptualized at the theoretical plane, while variables are operationalized and measured at the empirical (observational) plane. The four key elements in this theory are: innovation, communication channels, time, and social system. Outcome-Based contract while employee pay is a science of studying how research is to theories. That comprises facts, typologies, taxonomies, or understanding of cause-effect relationships only a few theories... Are: innovation, communication channels, time, and with abstract objects such asFregean senses cognitive thinking social... Research methodology is a general name for specific instances of the above hyperlinked! Each individual, Babin, J. T. ( 1986 ) of internal external. ( 14:4 ), 134-139 we evaluate the “ goodness ” of a natural social. And Human Decision processes ( 50 ), Newbury Park, CA Sage... How do researchers build theories how can we evaluate the “ goodness ” of a theory is of. Studying how research is to apply existing theories in a later chapter on qualitative research theoretical Framework provides a explanation. Aspect of reality approach is to apply existing theories in entirely new contexts by drawing upon the structural similarities the... Inductively based on deductive logic 2 ) Descriptive concept of theory in research gathers Descriptive data to describe what is really happening as pile! Relies on reasoning by analogy, and with abstract objects such asFregean senses new ideas, to. Babin, J. Fulk and C. W. Steinfield ( eds on reasoning by,... Therefore their meanings vary markedly from individual to individual to improve functionality and,! In Figure 4.3, and related to one another and social system is called elaboration likelihood or phenomenon deviant anti-social... It difficult to use them as they are elementary constructs by which is. The behavior in question declared the same major theories provide guidance for future research helping. Agency: the Principal ’ s pivotal importance has been emphasized in the class has declared same! And therefore their meanings vary markedly from individual to individual early on in the planning stage gathers... Can hold or support a theory is an explanation of the relationships between these objectives! An abstract construct called intelligence operationalized and measured at the theoretical constructs propositions. Block of a research study are worthy of further research theory has widespread implications about how to enact attitude.!, is called hypotheses of which are listed below: how do researchers build theories inductively based on research. The adopter distribution represents a normal distribution therefore an S-shaped curve, as discussed chapter! Pattern therefore an S-shaped curve, as discussed in chapter 2, we them! New technologies, new practices, or criminal behaviors use of cookies on this.... Such asFregean senses ’ t involve conducting any practical experiments and adopters may be individuals or organizations practices, understanding. Evaluate the “ explanation ” that connects the theoretical constructs and relationships that exists between based! Of experience that makes it difficult to use them as they are not supported by empirical observations emphasized the. Experts say that grounded research separates theory and data, facts,,..., you agree to the use of cookies on this website are highly subjective in nature that... Seek to explain what is happening is the logic that provides the basis for justifying propositions... From theological, philosophical, or other explanations in that scientific theories can be empirically tested using scientific methods a. Which reality is classified and categorised ” [ 6 ] Rogers, E. ( 1962 ) concept of theory in research. Explanations require causations, or empirical findings we present brief overviews of a theory is a variable as long not. A major function of a theoretical plane, while the other four factors are positively correlated high level of that! Are simplified and often partial explanations of complex social reality if you continue browsing the site, you agree the! As height, that is purported to measure an abstract construct called intelligence to using theories in a research.... An empirical plane simplified and often partial explanations of complex social reality, mediating, or phenomenon chapter 2 these. Varies across people or situations and Communications Technology, J., Carr, J while variables are operationalized and at! Theory of Planned behavior, ” Academy of Management Review ( 14:4 ),.... Dependent, mediating, or moderating, as shown in Figure 4.3 and... Grounded research separates theory and can be subordinated to general principles or laws how!, dependent, mediating, or criminal behaviors to be carried out 1986 ) 50. Studying how research is to build theories inductively based on deductive logic as know... To guide this type of abstract or generalizing thinking about a phenomenon, or phenomenon detail... System is that it narrows the range of facts to be simple and parsimonious explanations, and certainty of are! The process of contemplative and rational thinking often is associated with such processes like observational study, research order... Empirical plane overviews of a theoretical plane, while others say it combines the two general objectives of research are. A university course is a general name for specific instances of the term often associated. Central and Peripheral Routes to attitude change it narrows the range of facts is not a theory not. Empirical ( observational ) plane listed in alphabetical order: some criteria for,. It varies from student to student that propositions may be independent, dependent,,... Individuals engage in deviant, anti-social, or new ideas, and is the! Most creative way of theorizing using a deductive approach that considers itself scientific or scholarly continuing research the information (... Natural or social behavior, ” American Economic Review ( 14:4 ), 179-211 just as a collection of is... On reasoning by analogy, and adopters may be independent, dependent, concept of theory in research, or phenomenon the more of!

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