Sample Article Review on What theory is not

What theory is not

The article What Theory is not encompasses a description and explanation of the differences that exist between papers that contain theory and those that have no theory. According to the article, there is neither explanation nor agreement about the constitution of strong versus weak theory in the social sciences. However, a true fact is that references, data, variables, diagrams, and hypotheses are not theory yet most authors have gone against the fact and used the elements in place of theory in their publications. The article makes an effort to help authors do away with common challenges that have led to the perception among readers that most papers and other publications have inadequate theories. This article gives a discussion of how journals have often facilitated the publication of stronger theories. Generally, the article What theory is not makes an assumption that theory is good and this is supported by its statement that a stronger theoretical section helps a paper have more impact on the literature and fully informs the reader. The article adds that most researchers have strived to write better theories given the time and knowledge to do so. Strong theories make papers, publication and journals more acceptable hence they should be included in such pieces of writing.

Essentially, the major contribution of the article is that theories should be included in journals, publications and other research papers. This is a very significant idea from a publications point of view. Readers readily accept publications with strong theories rather than weak theories. Conversely, publications with no theories are always rejected in most occasions. Bearing this in mind, the contribution in this article makes authors of publications aware of what they need to include in making their publications more acceptable by readers. This is strongly supported by the fact that manuscripts with no theory have suspect value among readers. At times, reviewers and editors refuse to publish a paper because it contains inadequate theory yet they are aware that only publications with strong theories are accepted by readers.

A number of arguments are highlighted in the article one of them being that references are not theory. Theories are known to present more detailed and compelling arguments about certain ideas and facts while in referencing, authors only list the names of prevailing theories or schools of thought without giving any explanation. Moreover, references are sometimes used like a smoke screen to hide the absence of theory in publications and this drives away readers who expect strong theories in publications. The other main argument in the article is that data are not theory by various reasons in the article. For instance, the article opines that the difference between data and theory is that while the former describe empirical patterns which are observed, the latter explains why the empirical patterns were observed or why they are expected to be observed. Data has no explanations or arguments that are desired by readers hence publications which only encompass data with no theories are not accepted by readers. The article has also come up with the argument that list of variables or constructs are not theory and this is supported by the relationship between the two. Theory must explain why variables or constructs come about or why they are connected. Arguably, at times, the list of variables represents a logical attempt to cover all or most of the determinants of a given outcome or process. Such lists are always can always be useful in multiple regression equations or LISREL models. The only problem is that they do not constitute theory and this makes most publications with multiple regression equations or LISREL models not to be accepted by readers. The article also opines that diagrams are not theory despite the fact that they can be a valuable part of a research paper. Diagrams can provide structure to arguments although their use in publications is limited because they do not provide descriptions with sentences and paragraphs so as to convey the logical nuances, an aspect that is appreciated by most readers. The other major argument of the article is that hypotheses are not theory. Although they serve as crucial bridges between theory and data, making explicit how the variables and relationships that follow from a logical argument will be operationalized, hypotheses are statements with no detailed explanation and this makes them different from theories.

What theory is not is a conceptual paper hence it applies the conceptual model which is shown in the diagram below.

The input in this case is the use of theories in publications by authors and it is an independent variable. Conversely, the environment is the readers of the publications. The outcome in this case can either be rejection or acceptance of publications by readers and this is dependent on whether an author uses a theory or not in his publications. Therefore, the outcome is a dependent variable.

The article’s contribution can influence how researchers and other practitioners carry out their operations. With the suggestion that theories are very important in publications, researchers and other practitioners will adopt this and ensure that their papers and publications include theories and not mere data, diagrams and hypotheses in order for them to be accepted by readers.