Presentation on theme: "The Role of Theory Jean Hillier GURU, Newcastle University AESOP PhD Workshop 2010."— Presentation transcript:
The Role of Theory Jean Hillier GURU, Newcastle University AESOP PhD Workshop 2010
Introduction – which approach could I use? inductive/deductive/reproductive/adductive Illustrations – retroductive deductive Conclusions
Which Approach is Good for Me? Reasons for doing the research: exploration description explanation prediction
Four Possible Approaches inductive deductive retroductive abductive
Inductive Research Research comes before Theory unordered 'facts' definition/classification/ measurement ordered facts inductive generalisation theory construction
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 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 Research comes before Theory Starts from the social world of the ‘actant’ theory construction unordered data subjective interpretation of data thematic categorisation
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/territ ori_barca/fcbmuseu/continguts/planol_camp_nou.html
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.
The Ideal Speech Situation: all participants must speak truthfully comprehensibly sincerely legitimately Systematically Distorted Communication False consensus
Conclusions (1) What strategy you use will depend on: 1) whether you want to apply existing theory or develop new theory. 2) whether you want to test a theory using empirical data? 3) whether you want to examine data or a case study using a theoretical frame?
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!! Conclusions (2)
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 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.