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Research Theories and the Components of Theoretical Schemes

Theory defines, assumes, proposes, explains, and predicts what the research outcome is likely to prove (right or wrong). It is an integrated body of propositions, assumptions, and definitions that are related in explaining and predicting relationships between two or more variables. Theory could be any of the following: deductive, inductive, grounded and axiomatic.

On the other hand, hypotheses are statements or assertions derived from theory that can be tested by scientific inquiry and that are capable of being refuted, and their tests may result in support or nonsupport for the theory from which they were derived.

Scenario

You have been hired as a consultant by the local police commissioner to lend your expertise on criminal justice research for the education of the police captains, who will be developing a new citywide crime prevention strategy. As an introductory task in this position, you are to write a letter to the local police captains explaining the theories used to approach your research.

1. What are the key differences between the 4 identified types of research theories above?
2. Is any one type of theory more valid than the others? Why or why not?
3. What are the differences and similarities (if any) between theory and hypothesis?
4. What are variables, and why are they important components of theoretical schemes?

Solution Preview

http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/dedind.php

1. What are the key differences between the 4 identified types of research theories above?

Deductive theoretical frameworks are predicated upon reasoning that operates from more general to more specific reasoning or the top-down approach. A theory is formulated about a topic of interest and subsequently narrowed down to a specific hypothesis that may be tested. To further specify the process, observations are collected to address the hypothesis and ultimately the hypothesis is tested with specific data either confirming or not confirming the original theory.

Inductive theoretical frameworks are predicated upon reasoning that operates from specific observations to broader generalizations. Therefore, it is totally opposite to the deductive framework as it works from the bottom-up. Beginning with specific observations and measures, the research next detects a pattern and regularities in which he or she may formulate some tentative hypothesis that could feasibly be explored. The final process in this theoretical framework ...

Solution Summary

Based on a hypothetical scenario, the solution analyzes and compares four different types of research theories and speaks to their individual merits.

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