“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”–Chinese proverb

THEORY: a set of assumptions from which a set of empirical laws (or principles) may be derived.

Good theory leads to new knowledge, serves as a guide to new knowledge by suggesting testable hypotheses. (Theory does produce hypotheses.)

See: Germ theory, Atomic theory, Maslow’s Theory of need.

Theory: is a tool for inquiry; provides a general explanation for phenomena; provides a method of investigation; organizes logically by selecting facts; orders observations and experiences.


THEORY is what I learn; PRACTICE is what I do.

Properties of theory: generalizability, longevity, reliability, dynamic, adaptability, stimulating (for further knowledge), objectivity, useful (utilitarian), predictability, not true or false but useful or not.

Theory is difficult to define; it is even often difficult to have agreement on the concepts of the definitions.

Theory is not a law, but is a set of assumptions from which a set of empirical laws or principles may be derived–derived by purely logico-mathematical procedures.

Theory is a set of assumptions or generalizations supported by related philosophical assumptions and scientific principles.

Theories serve as a basis for PROJECTING hypotheses which suggest a course of action; the hypotheses are then subjected to scientific investigation; the findings are evaluated to validate NEW scientific principles and philosophical assumptions. [Theory in Action]

Theories tell us what facts to look for, select facts, allow (help) us to ask the right questions.

“Well, that’s all fine and good. But it’s just theoretical.”



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