Last time I talked about what theory is and who I am as a theorist. Of course, choosing sides doesn’t necessarily make you a good theorist, it just means you have decided where you stand or where you would like to stand. Only good theories can make a good theorists.
So let’s take me as an example. I strongly believe in interpretation and the humanistic approach to theory formation and development. In order to be a good interpretive theorist there are certain requirements. Let’s think of it sort of like a recipe:
1/4 cup Clarification of Values
1/2 cup Community of Agreement
2 cups Qualitative Research
1 tbsp. Aesthetic Appeal
Add the Aesthetic Appeal, Clarification of Values and Community of Agreement to the Qualitative Research, and knead until it produces a New Understanding of People. Then bake until the dough Produces a Reform of Society.
A good interpretive theorist will explain his theoretical biases, before he sets off in his quest to produce an aesthetically pleasing theory which gives persons a new understanding of people and is supported by other scholars, in addition to advocating some sort of social change.
The recipe for a good scientific theory calls for different ingredients:
1 cup Explanation of Past and Present Data
1/4 cup Relative Simplicity
1/4 cup Practical Utility
2 tbsp. Falsifiability
2 cups Quantitative Research
Add Relative Simplicity, Practical Utility and Falsifiability to Explanation of Past and Present Data and Quantitative Research. Mix well. Bake until batter shows a Prediction of Future Events.
Each recipe produces a good, valid theory suited to the two vastly different tastes of theory development. Bon appétit!
Cyndi, the Theory Chef