Theory and research methods
The word theory originates from ‘thoros’ meaning a spectator. A theory is a group of assumptions and accepted facts that aim at providing rational explanation of cause and effect (causal relationships in groups of observed phenomenon. Deductive theory guide designs of a study and result interpretation. Researchers develop confidence in their conduct of empirical research and while testing a theory. They are convinced that some parts of the theory are true while others are false (Sunday, n.d). Inductive theory begins with assumptions and orientation concepts. Inductive theory begins as researchers gather and analyze data. Researchers combine knowledge from various studies and come up with an abstract theory.
Theories are descriptive or explanatory. Research designs testing theories are experimental, descriptive, and correlational. Descriptive theories describe dimensions and characteristics of events, groups, and situations (Sunday, n.d). Descriptive theory are important when there is little information known about the phenomenon. Descriptive theory is classified into classification and naming theory. Naming theory offers description and characteristics of phenomenon. Classification theory states dimensions of interrelated phenomenon. Descriptive research tests descriptive theories.
Relationship between Theory and research
Theory is a basic frame of what we observe and think. It is a summation of concepts and directions of important questions. It offers suggestions to make research data sensible. Theory increases awareness of researchers and helps them forecast issues. Theories are abstracts providing one-sided account of concrete world having many sides (Sunday, n.d). It allows researchers to link the abstract and concrete, empirical and theoretical, observations and thought statements. Social theory informs us of existing issues for research allowing researchers to make decisions making sense in the world. Theories are not fixed but are revised to be accurate and comprehensive. Theories interact with research findings (empirical data).
Research methods are qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research understands and interprets social interactions in smaller groups not selected randomly. Qualitative research studies the whole and collects objects, images, and words. Qualitative research collects open-ended responses, observations from participants, field notes interviews and reflections. Data is analyzed using fetures, patterns and themes. Qualitative research involves researchers generating new hypothesis and theory from collected data. It studies behavior in their natural environment targeting multiple realities. A narrative report having contextual description is given as the final report. Qualitative research uses interviews, narratives, focus groups, document analysis, archival research, and participant observation to collect data.
Quantitative research observes causes and effects while testing hypothesis. The groups are larger and selected randomly. Specific variables are studied, with data and statistics collected. Structured and validated instruments collect data. Statistical relationships analyze data. The bias of the researcher is not known. The method uses confirmatory scientific methods through using data to test hypothesis and theory. The human behavior is predictable and regular. A specific hypothesis is tested. The final report is statistical with correlations and comparisons of means. Quantitative research uses interviews, objects, and images to collect data
(Xavier University, 2012).
A hypothesis is a statement defining the relationship between variables. A null hypothesis states that our experiment does not have an observed effect. According to a null hypothesis there does not exists a relationship whether or not a person has stroke and whether or not a person lives with a smoker (the ratio is equal to one. It is denoted by Ho. Null hypothesis attempts to find evidence against a situation of research. The alternative hypothesis states presence of an observed effect in our experiment. Mathematical formulation of alternative hypothesis includes an inequality symbol. It is denoted by Ha. Alternative hypothesis attempts to describe an indirect way to test a hypothesis (the Pennsylvania state university, 2017). Alternative hypothesis indicates that there is a relationship between whether or not a person has a stroke and whether or not the person stays with the smoker.
Testing a hypothesis
Everett Community college tutoring center (n.d) indicates two ways of testing a hypothesis, the traditional and P-value.
Step 1 it involves identification of the null hypothesis Ho and the Alternative hypothesis Ha.
Step 2 it involves identification of α the level of significance.
Step 3. It involves finding the critical value(s).
Step four it involves finding the test statistic.
Step 5 Draw a graph and label the test statistic and critical value(s).
Step six making a decision to reject or accept the null hypothesis.
Reject Ho – The test statistic falls within the critical region.
Fail to reject Ho – Test statistic does not fall within the critical region.
P-Value area is determined through
Left tail test: P-value area left of the statistic.
Right tail test: P-value is area to the right of test statistic.
Two tails Test: P-value is twice the area bounded by the test statistic.
A decision is then made to reject or accept the null hypothesis.
Reject Ho if p-value ≤α
Fail to reject Ho if p-value >α