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The Role of Theory. Jean Hillier GURU, Newcastle University AESOP PhD Workshop 2010. Introduction – which approach could I use? inductive/deductive/reproductive/adductive Illustrations – r etroductive d eductive Conclusions. Which Approach is Good for Me?.

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the role of theory
The Role of Theory

Jean Hillier

GURU, Newcastle University

AESOP PhD Workshop 2010

slide2

Introduction – which approach could I use?

inductive/deductive/reproductive/adductive

    • Illustrations –

retroductive

deductive

  • Conclusions
which approach is good for me
Which Approach is Good for Me?

Reasons for doing the research:

  • exploration 
  • description 
  • explanation 
  • prediction 
four possible approaches
Four Possible Approaches
  • inductive
  • deductive
  • retroductive 
  • abductive 
inductive research
Inductive Research

Research comes before Theory

unordered \'facts\'

definition/classification/

measurement

ordered facts

inductive

generalisation

theory construction

deductive research
Deductive Research

Theory comes before Research

Research ‘tests’ the Theory

a priori model

or theory

data collection

testing of theory

modification of theory

retroductive research
Retroductive Research

Theory comes before Research

Does a structure/process operate in the way theory suggests?

a priori model

or theory

data collection/

case study

critical analysis of

case study data

explanation of case study

abductive research
Abductive Research

Research comes before Theory

Starts from the social world of the ‘actant’

unordered data

subjective interpretation

of data

thematic categorisation

theory construction

a retroductive example actor actant network theory
A Retroductive Example:Actor/Actant-Network Theory

Translation

  • incorporation – actors join and are woven into networks;
  • interessement – actors exert influence over others via persuasion that their position is best;
  • enrolment – actors lock others into their definitions;
  • mobilisation – the actor now speaks for the others

Intermediaries: human, non-human

http://www.fcbarcelona.cat/web/english/club/club_avui/territori_barca/fcbmuseu/continguts/planol_camp_nou.html

a deductive example habermas communicative action
A Deductive Example:Habermas\' Communicative Action
  • interpersonal linguistic communication
  • mutual understanding
  • rational consensus

\'rules\' of discussion:

  • all actors are allowed to participate;
  • all actors are allowed to introduce ideas into discussion;
  • all actors are allowed to question others.
slide11

The Ideal Speech Situation:

all participants must speak

  • truthfully
  • comprehensibly
  • sincerely
  • legitimately

Systematically Distorted Communication

False consensus

conclusions 1
Conclusions (1)

What strategy you use will depend on:

  • whether you want to apply existing theory or develop new theory.
  • whether you want to test a theory using empirical data?
  • whether you want to examine data or a case study using a theoretical frame?
slide13

Conclusions (2)

  • Select your theory carefully
    • What do you want to analyse?
    • If social institutions – think about Healey etc
    • If power – think about ANT, Foucault, Habermas etc
    • If ideology – think about liberalism, utilitarianism, Marxism etc etc
    • If relationality – think about Healey, Deleuze etc

If in doubt, ASK!!

remember
Remember:

‘what we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning’

(Heisenberg, cited in Capra, 1996: 40)

  • Methods PERFORM – they help to produce the realities they describe.
  • Different theoretical frames lead to different questions lead to different realities being interpreted.
key references
Key References

Blakie N. 2000 Designing Social Research,

Polity, Cambridge. [nb chapters 4 & 5]

Punch K. 2000 Designing Effective Research Proposals, Sage, London.

Punch K. 2005 Introduction to Social Research, Sage, London.

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