Creswell on theory

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A little deeper look at the concepts of theory

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Creswell on theory

  1. 1. The Uses of Theory from Creswell, 2009 1
  2. 2. Quantitative 2
  3. 3. Definition of a Theory (Quantitative) “A set of interrelated constructs (variables), definitions, and propositions that presents a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables, with the purpose of explaining natural phenomena” from Kerlinger, 1979 3
  4. 4. Definition of a Theory (Quantitative) Which means (according to Creswell) “that a theory is an interrelated set of constructs (or variables) formed into propositions, or hypotheses, that specify the relationship among variables (typically in terms of magnitude or direction).” Creswell, 2008 4
  5. 5. Definition of a Theory (Quantitative) It is how independent variable X influences or affects dependent variable Y. X Y 5
  6. 6. Definition of a Theory EXAMPLE: The greater the centralization of power in leaders the greater the disenfranchisement of the followers. 6
  7. 7. Definition of a Theory EXAMPLE 2: This might be the “if, then” definition. IF the frequency of interaction between two or more persons increases, THEN the degree of their liking for one another will increase and vice versa. 7
  8. 8. VISUAL MODELS 8
  9. 9. Three independent variables influence a single dependent variable mediated by two intervening variables. x1 x2 x3 y1 y1 z1 Independent variable dependent variable Intervening variable 9
  10. 10. Two groups with different treatments on XS are compared in terms of Y. Y1 Experimental group Control group Variable X 10
  11. 11. Deductive approach Researcher tests or verifies a theory Researcher tests hypothesis Or research questions form the theory Researcher defines and operationalizes variables derived from the theory Researcher measures or observes variables using an instrument to obtain scores 11
  12. 12. Qualitative 12
  13. 13. Qualitative • Is designed for use with broad explanations for attitudes. • May be complete with variables, constructs, and hypotheses. 13
  14. 14. Qualitative • Researchers increasingly use a theoretical lens or perspective in qualitative research. • This provides an overall orienting lens for the study of things such as race, class, gender and other issues of marginalized groups. 14
  15. 15. Qualitative • They guide the researcher to what issues are important to examine. (Examples would be marginalization or empowerment.) • Also as to what people need to be studied. (Women, men, the homeless, minority groups. 15
  16. 16. Qualitative • The lens becomes an advocacy perspective that shapes the types of questions asked. • It informs how data are collected and analyzed. • It also provides a call for action or change. 16
  17. 17. Qualitative Some examples of such perspectives: • Feminist perspective (Women’s situations as problematic.) • Critical theory perspective (The production and control of knowledge) • Radicalized discourse (Empowering humans to transcend race, class, gender.) • Queer theory (Does not objectify individuals, but concerned with political and cultural relations.) 17
  18. 18. Qualitative • May become an end point in itself. • Is an inductive process building from the data to broad themes to a generalized model or theory. 18
  19. 19. Inductive approach Researcher poses generalizations or theories from past experience and literature Researcher looks for broad patterns, Generalizations, or theories from Themes or catergories Researcher analyzes data to Form themes or categories Researcher gathers information (e.g., interviews, observations) Researcher gathers information (e.g., interviews, observations) 19
  20. 20. Qualitative • First is the gathering of data from participants. • Then the development of themes and categories into patterns, theories, or generalizations. 20
  21. 21. Qualitative • Some studies do not employ any explicit theory. • But it is argued that no research begins as pure observation. There is a prior conceptualization on the part of the researcher as to what is important to study, which creates a starting point. 21
  22. 22. Mixed Methods Theory use in mixed methods may include: • Deductive, as in quantitative theory testing and verification. • Inductive, as in an emerging quality or pattern. 22
  23. 23. Mixed Methods • Theory can be a perspective or a lens to guide the study. • It may be of a transformative design giving primacy to value-based, action-oriented research. – Empowering – Emancipative 23

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