Why seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?
I have outlined five critical steps of preparation that should be considered prior to moving on to addressing the ingredients of Theory.
# 1: Identify a Phenomenon of Interest
I will be utilizing the composite approach suggested by McDonald and Schneberger based on my experience and education to I identify, describe and explain the fields of knowledge that encapsulate quality and key concepts that are needed to understand each field. The key concepts are; MEANING, THEORY, CONCEPTS, PRINCIPLES, and PARADIGMS. Please see the concept map of the book by clicking “About My Book” and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.
#2: Establish Goals
The editors of AMR provided us with nineteen goals that can be considered when approaching theory development. We will focus on the following subset:
- Identify and delineate a novel theoretical problem.
- Provide a theoretical structure that was not there before.
- 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.
#3: Experience is a Requirement
#4: Imagination is Needed to Form Patterns
According to Thomas Kuhn the theorist should be characterized by individuality, have the ability to understand “Good and Bad Ideas”, have significant knowledge in their fields, should not be dogmatic and should be close to the phenomenon. Kuhn is describing the educated person with years of experience and the unique characteristic of unbiased innovative thought.
In my next post we will move on to identifying, describing and explaining the key ingredients of Theory.