Monday, 23 May 2016

Linking Theory and Research

We need theories to measure our research against: it becomes a benchmark - or framework - for us to examine what we are observing.

Like the framing for a house, we need a structure to compare what we find against. A 'rule of thumb' as it were.

However, finding a theory for a research project can be tricky. For a management research project, I need to be looking within the social sciences management theories.

Some tools that we can use to find a theory include:
  • Thinking about the topic area that our research sits within, and then going through some textbooks which cover that topic. We can run through the topic-related theories, and find the ones which fit best with our aims
  • We can look at related research, and see what theories other researchers have used
  • Examining our concept map, and considering what theory fits with the main aspects of that.
If this doesn't help us, some smart people at the University of Southern California have put together a block of guides and activities to help us find our theory here.

For undergraduate research, we may have more than one underpinning theories that help guide your project, but we probably won't have more than two. Otherwise we can lose sight of what we are trying to accomplish. But for post-graduate work, we might have several theories that are systematically and carefully worked through.


Sam


1 comment :