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What is Theory? FYC 3001

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by

Kate H. Fletcher

on 1 February 2016

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Transcript of What is Theory? FYC 3001

What is Theory?
… An explanation of how some aspect of the world works.
It works as a guide to organize information & to predict future behavior or events …

Systematically related propositions that are empirically testable (Rudner, 1966)…

A process of developing ideas that can allow us to explain how and why events occur (Turner, 1986)
What does theory do?
Theories offer explanations of How & Why events & relationships are related.
Theories must be proven through rigorous empirical research
Describes
Explains
Predicts
the components of theory















.
concepts
variables
assumptions
propositions
data
hypothesis
Dale Pracht Ph.D.
Kate H. Fletcher, M.s.

FYC3001
Concepts
Variables
Assumptions
Propositions
Data
Hypothesis
Represents some aspect of reality
(Burr, Hill, Nye, & Reiss, 1973)
Over time concepts may be refined & changed
The basic building blocks on which the theory is built.
Independent variables
are the variables that are changed in a given model or equation. One can also think of them as the ‘input’ which is then modified by the model to change the ‘output’ or dependent variable.
Dependent variables
are considered to be functions of the independent variables, changing only as the independent variable does.
Basic principles, ideas, or truths that professionals agree on.
Every theory has a set of underlying assumptions
Do Assumptions Change?
Yes- when society changes or when research reveals new or different findings
Relationships between concepts.
Concept X is related to Concept Y
Propositions DO NOT IMPLY CAUSATION
Only express that a Relationship EXISTS
Example: Children’s success in school is related to their parents’ involvement in their education.
Does NOT describe the strength of a relationship or the direction
Distinct pieces of information

Is the cornerstone of the empirical research that tests & validates theories, therefore… data must meet the rigorous test of the following 3 conditions:

1 The event must have occurred
2 Must be observed in a replicable way
3 The record of this data when combined with similar records leads to broader understanding
Elaborated version of a proposition that states both the strength & the direction of the relationships between concepts.
Hypothesis is tested via research to determine if it’s correct or incorrect.
Although it appears to be counter intuitive, the goal is to DISPROVE the hypothesis
If accepted becomes part of theory
Understanding
Relationships

Direct Relationship
Direct Relationship (+ or -)
as X increases,
Y increases
or
as X decreases,
Y decreases












.
X
Y
Inverse Relationship
Inverse Relationship as X increases,
Y decreases,
or
as X decreases,
Y increases















.
X
Y
Theories for FYCS
X
Y
Indirect Relationship
Indirect Relationship
(Z is the intervening variable)











.
=
Z
Explain the systematic &
patterned changes experienced by
Individuals
Families &
Communities
with the passing of time.
How communities develop over time.
Society assumed the world was flat... imagine that.
Disadvantages
of
Developmental Theories:
Time & cohort sensitive
Originally viewed as unidirectional, now viewed as cyclical
Developmental Theories
For example, various theories of child development, adult development and family development explain how children change over time in specific domains of development:
physically
cognitively
socially & emotionally
How families develop over time.
marriage
divorce
remarriage
parenthood
infants
toddlers
school-aged children
adolescence
empty nest
retirement
widowhood
death
How children develop over time
Systems Theories
describes the interactions of people with one another & within their environments.
views all living organisms, environment, communities and families as systems with interacting and related components.
The human body is a system comprised of many subsystems.



















.
Systems theories help to explain how and why different systems function as they do.
Ecological Theories
"Human Ecology" was coined by Dr. Ellen Swallows Richards, the first female student at MIT.
She was the 1st to recognize the relationship between people and their environment.
Dr. Richards believed that "science has to apply its knowledge to [improve] that unit of the community, the home; for on the welfare of the home depends the welfare of the commonwealth" (Clarke, 1973, p. 141).
Ecological Systems Theory
Two Basic Premises:
1. The individual develops in the environment of their family,
&
2. There is a reciprocal relationship between the individual and his/her environment (family).
Bronfenbrenner blended developmental systems and ecology theories to create the Ecological Systems Theory.
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