JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for RAMESES Archives


RAMESES Archives

RAMESES Archives


RAMESES@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

RAMESES Home

RAMESES Home

RAMESES  January 2014

RAMESES January 2014

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Advice on testing theories - Realist Review

From:

"Jagosh, Justin" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Realist and Meta-narrative Evidence Synthesis: Evolving Standards" <[log in to unmask]>, Jagosh, Justin

Date:

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:39:27 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (55 lines)

Hi Mairi,

I think your question is one that resonates with many of us who are always thinking about how realist methodology can be applied to our particular research interests. Here are a few thoughts that will hopefully stir up a helpful discussion on the forum about your proposal and the role of theory-testing in general. 

What I'm about to say is most certainly a gross over-simplification of very well defined, historical concepts so bear with me as I try to keep the integrity of my thoughts here:

What is theory? We could begin with the idea that theory is really what links two or more visible (material)  factors in the study of any phenomena. So in other words, empirical 'data' is what is observable. Theory then, is not the visible parts per se, but something to do with our ideas about the relationship between what is observable. For example, say there is a male employee. And we observe that his annual salary is more than his female counterparts. Those are visible, i.e., empirical elements (i.e., male employee, female employee & annual salary). But in needing to answer the 'why the inequity?' question, we need to think about the relationship between such visible elements. The assumed relationship between elements is theory. It's not visible as such, and furthermore, the ideas about the relationship between elements can range in the level of abstraction.  And in this particular example, some form of economic or culturally influenced feminist theory may serve to explain (or partly explain) the relationship between these visible elements. 

So the idea of theory-testing is really to see if we can find some scientific basis upon which to confirm our suspicions that our thinking about relationship between visible elements is indeed sound. As such, theory-testing is not a logic of inquiry that is limited to realist methodology. In fact, much of what we call 'empirical' research is also based on the idea of theory-testing. The difference, as I see it, between theory testing in empirical research vs realist research is that the former is often about determining whether two observable factors are indeed correlated or causally related: does lay health worker intervention (observable factor 1) lead to improved health behaviours (observable factor 2). In contrast, realist research is often about theorizing about the invisible forces or mechanism that underpin the connection between observable factors. These are generalizations. Some empirical research does also uncover mechanisms but it's not usually the thrust of the research.

So in your case, you are contemplating the possibility of 'goal setting' as a theory. That's probably a good start. But I'd think over the notion of this as a theory. Would it be better understood as a strategy of the intervention? If so, you could say that the acts involved in 'goal setting' (observable factor 1) - leads to improved health behaviours (observable factors 2). Then the theory has to do with: what is it about 'goal setting' that creates certain behaviour changes? and in that you will find one or more mechanisms. So to get to your question, I'd say that we can better understand the function of 'theory-testing' in realist research when we contrast to empiricism. Basically realist 'testing' so to say, is checking out whether your pre-conceived ideas about the causal relationship between observable factors (that includes invisible forces at play) make sense, given what you see in the empirical data.       

Justin Jagosh, Ph.D
Senior Researcher
Centre for Advancement in Realist Evaluation and Synthesis (CARES)
Liverpool Reviews and Implementation Group
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

 Phone:
(in Canada)
001-604-822-3814 (w)
001-778-846-4589 (m)

________________________________________
From: Realist and Meta-narrative Evidence Synthesis: Evolving Standards [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Mairi Anne Young [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: January 28, 2014 9:42
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Advice on testing theories - Realist Review

Hi,

I'm a 2nd year Dental Public Health PhD student working on a protocol for a Realist Review. My research question is: Which mechanisms within child health interventions, positively influence child health promoting care giver behaviour?

The review will form part of my PhD which is an evaluation of a Lay Health Worker role within the Childsmile dental programme.

While researching Realist Review methodology and developing my protocol the only stumbling block I'm coming up against is the concept of 'theory testing'. I understand the searching is an iterative process, one which involves identifying and testing theories. However I'm failing to understand what exactly is involved within this testing phase.

For example, if it arose that Goal Setting was a theory, would I then be re-entering the literature with the intention of locating evidence related to Goal Setting? Would this evidence have to confirm why Goal Setting is an effective tool?

I would be grateful for any advice or information anyone could provide on this matter.

Kind regards,
Mairi




Mairi Young BA (hons) MSc MBPsS
PhD Student
The University of Glasgow, Glasgow Dental Hospital & School
Level 8 COH Office 378 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JZ

Email: [log in to unmask]
Tel:    0794 7744 517

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

For help and support help@jisc.ac.uk

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager