Theory and Research


when a systematic investigation conducted for the fulfillment of the specific objectives it is called research. The objectives may either explore new knowledge or solve existing problem. The exploration of knowledge is one of the important part of conducting research. Development of theory is one of the part of exploration of knowledge. It is possible from research but it can not be said that there is direct relation between theory and research.


The theory is the statement composed of logical relation of concept. It tries to describe or explain the connection between concept based on some principle. it helps to understand the complexities of social life (Neuman, 2015). Generally the theory is developed under certain assumptions. It may lead to the development or exploration of new knowledge about society. It logically connect variables by deducting complexity of the phenomena. the theory are not static in nature because it can be modify or rebuild at different period of of time. If you check the Maslow hierarchy theory of motivation or marshall law of demand, etc. there is a connection between at least two concepts or variable in a logical way. These theories have a certain assumption and only partial analysis of the phenomenon. Thus, theory analysis of how the behaviour is organized or predicted. There is two main components in theory. I.e. concept (abstract or mental image about subject matter) and principle (link or connection between concepts or variable).

Components of Theory

Theory consists of some assumptions, concepts and its operational definitions and relationship of variables with in the concepts used in theory. Theory is developed through either induction or deduction methods using different level of analysis. some theory use micro level or macro level analysis using particular content or topic (substantive theory) or general process using multiple area (formal theory). theory may use empirical generalization (grounded theory) or framework based on academic ideology (non-tested theory like, absolute income hypothesis).

Theory and ideology

Many peoples are still confuse with ideology and theory. Generally, ideology refers to non-scientific explanation or statement based on faith, socio-cultural and political values, with certain assumption (Neuman, 2015). It is rigid in nature and cannot easily and directly falsified with empirical data. There is low chances of modification and is rigid in nature because all people deliver same statement with reason or without any reason. the knowledge gaining system, assumption and empirical study are differ than theory in case of ideology.

Theory development and research

Theory firstly focuses on speculation which focuses on what is happening. Secondly, it focuses on the description which collected data to find out what really happening or to establish the connection or logic for the describing the concept used in the theory. Lastly, constructive which focus on the revision of old theory if any and developing new theory through the research process. These three components are vital for theory development and the connection of all components are established by research.

Theory and Research

It is believed that there is not direct connection between research and theory. In research sometime researcher may begin research from the general question. The data is collected from appropriate tools. Different tools are used for analysis of data. The conclusion is drawn from the finding of study and on the basis of conclusion theory is developed.  It is called inductive methods which normally develop the theory. One of the famous method is the grounded theory which used inductive reasoning method. In most of the cases qualitative research followed inductive reasoning method for conducting research. But it does not mean that it is not used in quantitative research.

Some of the research are conducted on the basis of theory or by developing the hypothesis. In this situation research formulate the research question and set the hypothesis from the theory. The aim of the research is to check the implication of theory or for the modification of existing theory. Researcher collected the data using appropriate tools and analysis the collected data. On the basis of finding research decided if there is need of modification of theory or not. It is called deductive method of reasoning.

If the theory is formulated after the data is collected and analysis then it is inductive method. If existing theory is used at first to formulate hypothesis or research question then the data is collected and analysis for modification or improvement of theory then it is deductive method.  

Reference used

Neuman W. L. (2015). Social Research Methods; qualitative and quantitative Approaches. Pearson (Indian Edition).

1 thought on “Theory and Research

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