Comprehensive Doctoral Review Examination
Presented in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Business Administration (or Philosophy)
Kristan L. Sears
Criminal Justice Administration
School of Business and Technology Management
June 28, 2015
In research, theory refers to defined or proposed ways through which researchers are able to make sense of concepts or situations. It is through a theory that researchers are able to present reliable solutions to a problem (Udo-Akang, 2012). Theory can be viewed as a generalization that is used to explain a phenomenon in line with the reasons why it occurs and how it occurs. General statements that are used to explain the cause or effect of a phenomenon are based on specific theoretical frameworks (Stam, 2010). A theory is a powerful tool through which researchers connect events and observations into a single unified web. The relationship among the statements of a theory defines the power of the theory as a basis upon which problems are solved and phenomena are understood (Harlow, 2009). A theory plays an important function in explaining, describing, controlling or predicting phenomena in different or divergent contexts (Udo-Akang, 2012).
The interactions of the various variables of phenomena constitute a theoretical framework. Theory can also be viewed as a system or a group of laws or rules and assumptions that are used to explain the implications of phenomena (Zahra, & Newey, 2009). Theories are used to make inferences or conclusions on a specific issue. The generalizations that are presented within theoretical frameworks often indicate new research observations (Wacker, 1998). These observations are constituted within a theory if they can be tested through scientific inquiry and if they are applicable in predicting or explaining certain phenomena. When knowledge is organized in a systematic manner, it also becomes and constitutes a theory. Theories are specifically applied to solve problems in the real world (Stam, 2010).
Credible or reliable research should be grounded on a specific theory or theories. This means that research should be informed and guided by theoretical views. Research findings can therefore be used to describe or explain a theory or be used to come up with new theories (Udo-Akang, 2012). There are two main types of theories upon which researches are grounded. These are philosophical theories and scientific theories. Philosophical theories are those whose subject matter or what they postulate is based on ideas rather than empirical research data (Harlow, 2009). The truth behind philosophical theories does not require an empirical research process