Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam

Theories play a vitally important role in guiding research and organizing and making sense of research findings. In spite of the great importance of theory-building and theory testing within your field of specialization, there is no generally accepted conception of what a theory is. Because your dissertation must contribute to theory, you must have a clear understanding of the variety of conceptions of theory, types of theories, and ways of contributing to theory and be able to justify how, exactly, your study contributes to theory.

Part 1
Using Gelso (2006), Harlow (2009), Stam, H. (2007, 2010), Wacker (1999), and five additional peer-reviewed articles from your specialization, discuss scholarly views on the nature and types of theory. Compare and contrast at least three views of what constitutes a theory, including the view you will use in Part 3 of this question. Be sure to distinguish theory from related concepts, such as hypothesis, paradigm, model, and concept.

Part 2
Using Ellis & Levy (2008), Harlow, E. (2009), and five additional peer-reviewed articles, review the scholarly literature on the relationship between theory and research and the ways research (quantitative and qualitative) can contribute to theory. Discuss at least three ways research can contribute to theory.

Part 3
Pick a theory (in one of the views of what constitutes a theory that you identified in Part 1) of current interest directly related to the topic area of your dissertation. A theory is currently of interest if there are articles published on it in the past five years. Using at least 10 published, peer-reviewed research articles:

1. Explain how the theory adds or may add to our understanding of your field and/or research topic.

2. Discuss and analyze the literature on two areas of controversy or unanswered questions related to the theory.

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