Compare and contrast at least three views on what constitutes a theory. Distinguish the related concepts of theories, such as hypothesis, paradigm, model and concept.
Differentiating between hypothesis and theory
The word hypothesis is a description of various phenomenon occurring. In most cases, it's not a confirm statement. In other cases, it can be well-developed, designed and explained to follow through the workings and mechanisms of certain phenomenon. According to one definition, it states particularly that it's a precursor to a conditional proposition. A hypothesis is an unconfirmed theory. One can develop a hypothesis while the observation is being tested, that could be unconfirmed too. By an observation, one can simply have a window of opportunity to verify a hypothesis. A hypothesis can be detailed and inclusive of details. This permits lucid testing. Apart from that, it is the distinguishing factor from a theory (Harris, 2001).
The word theory is of scientific nature by the way. Some define theory as a bunch of occurrences while others usually refer to it as a wild guess. Theory is the branch of research, which is based on conceptual idea rather than practical viability of the subject. The theory must be conjectural in nature. Within scientific domains, the theory is a working model and understanding of an occurrence (Harris, 2001).
Theory is sometimes developed within the scientific domains of observation. Thereby, it is tested consecutively forming it into a theory, prior to which it was a hypothesis. After a theory is refuted it is usually discarded away (Harris, 2001).
Models can also serve as representation of possibilities which can present a theory. The scientists can also create simulations and validate a hypothesis after the theory. Models can sometimes confirm a certain theory. Apart from that, they can serve as practical models for theory's validation (Harris, 2001).
Comparing theory, concept and paradigm
Concept is not exactly the most sophisticated of the three mentioned above as they explain skeletal ideas and piece of information that doesn't yet exist. Concepts are to be tested first by scientific testing; but the nature of scientific research is ever expanding the scientific methods and tools tend to change and modify with the passage of time. Technology morphs and changes too. In circles of social sciences, the term concept explains a list of important points around which data is compiled. In circles of biology, one concept is that an animal adjusts to its environment after a period of time by natural selection (Harris, 2001).
A theory is a bunch of explanations on a particular subject. The theory needs to be proved, tested or disproved. Theories aren't rock solid facts but rather special phenomena, but are rather guesswork around a certain phenomenon. A theory can also consist of a broad spectrum of concepts from a given field. The instances of a theory are the big bang theory or the Dalton's atomic theory (Harris, 2001).
Paradigm usually defines a bunch of theories, beliefs, methodologies and concepts which define a worldwide perspective on life and its mechanism. An instance of a paradigm is the disbelief in the scientific ideas on evolution and their relevance with respect to religious overtones. On the other hand, the scientific man with knowledge of both worlds can certainly find out the differences between religious texts. Some believe that religious texts and scientific research go hand in hand if researched with an open mind (Harris, 2001).
Differentiating between model and theory
Scientific discoveries and studies are formulated after in-depth research and analysis. The hypothesis is well thought out and experiments are done quite many times. Students may have studied and stumbled upon various scientists through time trying to explain various facts. Some teachers and professors assign their students to differentiate between model and theory to distinguish between the two (Harris, 2001).
The definition of both words is a tad bit cloudy. The students can develop both models and theories after working step by scientific methods. Theories and models are developed in a variety of different levels and stages of a study. Models are formed after theories are confirmed and then there are times when models are formed prior to theories. There are models which produce a different aspect of a theory and it leads to making another model (Harris, 2001).
Models are formed for testing a theory; they are based on theories as theories are the basis for explaining different phenomena's. Models can appear in the form of a simulation, visual, verbal and mathematical presentation of a scientific phenomenon which is strictly followed by the scientists to confirm their theories. The theories are formed after elongated observations of a certain physical phenomena. Models are often denoted as a physical presentation of a certain theory. While the scientists are researching on the ants living in a colony, they have various theories as to how ants live and eat. Observing ants in their natural environment isn't easy thus ant's colonies are designed. A physical model is created hence. The physical model is certainly a glass case with ants living inside. On observing the glass case full of ants, the scientists will propose theories and confirm their validity. Physical models are hence needed for validating a theory. Models are also application of respective theories sometimes. They define a certain boundary beyond which a certain possibility exists founded on a certain concept. The behavior of Eiffel tower is noted during an earthquake occurrence by the scientific model of a Prandtl-Meyer stress-strain relationship. So in this case, models appear after the theories rather than vice versa. Sometimes, model is often used after a theory has been formed before.In the end, a theory and model give out possibilities on giving explanations for natural occurrences. Models are often used in formulating experimental setups as scientists go through various steps of a scientific method. They refurbish a theory in its entirety (Harris, 2001).
The connection between models, theories, hypothesis and paradigms
In case of a paradigm, it guides, collects and experiments with various observations from researcher on a particular concept. After scientific research is performed, the scientists seek to confirm the validation of the known notions. When the knowledge expands and concepts are altered and changed, the facts and predictions are solidified around a particular concept. When new theories are confirmed and formed then paradigms are shifted and reformed in order to be relevant with the scientific beliefs (Harris, 2001).
When water falls on the table, it's a matter of time before it falls on the floor. After that a hypothesis will form thereby confirming that water will flow down on the floor regardless its state of presence or time on the table. Then that hypothesis will be tested as well by sampling water on different parts of table and verifying that it remains on the table or falls on the floor (Harris, 2001).
2. What is the relationship between theory and research and the ways research (quantitative and qualitative) can contribute to theory. Give three ways research contributes to theory.
The development of theory relies on research whereas research depends on theory. The relationship between a theory and research is dialectic as theory suggests the data to be collected while the research challenges the theories generally accepted. For the development of theory, research is a vehicle. This is correct in case the aim of the research is to test a theory or develop a theory. Research is the collected data for the theory to be solidified. The aim for theory generation is to look in the accurate direction. For instance, when a theory of patient's thoughts on nurses care plan is developed, the data would be surmising the grounds on which they will follow the nurses caring plan. When the case is of theory testing, then information must be gathered from around. For instance, if the case is strong for patients to stick to nurses caring plan due to approval of their spouses, then information is gathered from that vicinity. The spouses have a huge role in attaining these nursing care plans (Wacker, 1998).
The historic research is targeted at the phenomena which occurred at an earlier point in time. Similarly, the empirical descriptive research entails surveys, case studies, studies, ethnographies and grounded theory to work with. Case studies are very focused on a particular domain, based on some individuals in a narrow domain or based on a community (Wacker, 1998).
The descriptive studies use empirical methods for engaging observations of a certain phenomenon in its predominant environment. Information is collected by the observers, questionnaires and structured interviews (Wacker, 1998).
The connection between research and theory can be broadened by examining the research designs used for developing theories of various forms. The theories can be descriptive and explanatory. The descriptive theories are developed and tested after descriptive research. This form of research is also called exploratory research. The descriptive research may or may not use empirical method. Empirical methods negate historic and philosophic inquiries. The descriptive theories are the most common forms of theories. They explain…