Why seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?
The goals of a theory involve the characteristic of “How” the theorist is going to convey the knowledge that is the essence of the theory. The editors at AMR provided us with the worthy and, perhaps, lofty goals.
- Challenge or clarify existing theory.
- Identify and delineate a novel theoretical problem.
- Synthesize recent advances and ideas into a fresh new theory.
- Reveal significant inconsistencies in a particular theory or theories that have been used to explain a phenomenon.
- Provide evidence that existing theories are significantly deficient in their ability to explain a particular phenomenon.
- Provide a theoretical structure that was not there before.
- Clearly convey significance, shortcomings and challenges.
- Should be an interesting and important theoretical puzzle that requires a novel theoretical resolution.
- Help readers develop broader understanding of the concept or process.
- Create synergies from the integrated research such that insight from the integration comes across as being novel and important even to those who might be quite familiar with the relevant bodies of literature.
- If integrative, provide insights that each perspective alone cannot provide.
- Force a more detailed consideration of assumptions.
- Fill in gaps in understanding through the combination of perspectives.
- Accommodate far apart areas of research with incompatible underlying assumptions.
- Theoretical integration should reflect an elaborate system of relationships among specific concepts that is theoretically grounded and internally consistent.
Certainly no theory can accomplish all of the goals outlined above. Accomplishing any of them may be worthy of an acceptable product. The objective of this book is not necessarily an acceptable product but complete explication. To accomplish that objective, many of the goals above must be achieved. They will be revisited in the final chapter.