Stressing the link between research and theory-building, this concise book shows students how new knowledge is discovered through the process of research. The author presents a model that ties together research processes across the various traditions and shows how different types of research interrelate. The book is sophisticated in its presentation, but provides explanation of higher-level concepts in an accessible and engaging manner. Throughout the book, the author treats research methodologies as universal and logically appropriate ways of answering a wide range of interesting questions, rather than just a set of tools to be applied. The book is an excellent guide for students who will be consumers of research and who need to understand how theory and research interrelate.
This chapter focuses on developing causal theory, a process that lies at the heart of most research projects. The discussion examines broad traditions in theory building across a variety of disciplines. It explores the differences in deriving theory inductively, through processes of observation, description, and classification, as well as how one can arrive at theory deductively based on assumptions that are logical and/or mathematical in nature.
The chapter also examines the differences and connections between causal theories that are based on qualitative research, which analyzes a small number of things in greater detail, and quantitative research, which attempts to understand larger-scale trends. This discussion of the “qualitative–quantitative” spectrum discusses the advantages and disadvantages of both types of research while illustrating the types of ...