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Shvoong Home>Social Sciences>COMPONENTS OF THEORY Summary

COMPONENTS OF THEORY

Article Summary   by:JRNICOLETTI     Original Authors: Nicoletti; J.R.
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This abstract was translated from COMPONENTES DA TEORIA
 
The main components of the theory, also called “theory blocks construction” are the concepts, the constructs and the definitions. [BR][BR]Concepts: it is generally accepted (common sense) set of meanings or characteristics associates with certain facts, objects, conditions, situations and behaviors. We create hypotheses using concepts. The success of the research bases it on the clarity our conceptualization and making that other people understands clearly the concepts that we are using. It is really a challenge! One of the difficulties in the use of the concepts is related with the different meanings that people considers like definitive labels (for example: family, unit of housing, retail regular user, transactions). The concepts are called constructs whenever they involve an abstraction level. [BR][BR]Constructs: image or idea invented specifically for one determined research and/or creation of theory. The constructs are elaborated when the idea or image that we intend to transmit is not directly subjects to the comment, being more difficult to observe and its measure is more complex. Examples in the area of Human Resources: construct for quality of presentation the works (amount of errors, precision of the format, speed of typing of a text, etc.) Another example of construct is the “interest in the work”. Definitions: concepts are forms to reduce the danger of the confusion on the meaning them. [BR]- Dictionary definitions: define concepts as synonymous. The definitions are not good for the research that demand needs for measuring concepts and constructs more rigorous. [BR]- Operational definitions: declared in terms of specific tests or criteria of measure. They must specify the characteristics and as they must be observed. As well as the dictionary definitions, also they present some problems. The operational definition can very be narrow, limited, and could not represent the similar form what another person use when the same topical searching. Also it is difficult to deal with constructs that have few referring empiricists, through which could confirm that an operational definition in fact measure what one expects. Variable: the term variable is used as synonymous for construct or property in study, being a symbol for which we attribute to numerals or values. [BR]Dictomic variables: they assume two values, indicating absence or presence of a property.
Examples: 0-1, yes-not, employed-unemployed.[BR]Distinct variables: they are those that can be considered in categories of possible values. Examples: Chevrolet = 5, Honda = 6 (it does not have the option for 5.5). [BR]Continuous variables: they possess values of definitive levels inside, and in some cases they can be infinite. Examples: age, temperature, income etc. The variable types can be the independent, dependent, moderating, stranger and intervenient. [BR]Independent variable (IV) and dependent variable (DV): they indicate the relation between the variables. Example: one IV (stimulus) “makes that” a DV occurs (reply). [BR]Moderating variable (MV): it is one second interdependent variable that is enclosed because it can have a significant contribution or a contingent effect in relation IV-DV originally declared. Example: the introduction of the four days working a week (IV) goes to increase the productivity (DV), especially by the youngest workers (MV).[BR]Strangers variables (SV): it understands a gamma of variable that can affect one definitive relation, but the majority of them can be ignored. Others can be important, but its impact occurs of random form, having little effect. A significant example of (SV) is the control.[BR]Intervenient variable (ITV): it is a conceptual mechanism through which the IV and MV can affect DV, that is, ITV can be defined as the factor that theoretically affects the observed phenomenon, but cannot be seen, be measured or manipulated; its effect must be inferred of the effect of the IV and MV in the observed phenomenon. Example: a promotional campaign (IV) goes to increase the activity of saving by people (DV), especially when prizes will be offered (MV), but, over all between the small economizers, (control-EV). The results are generated by the increase in the motivation to save (ITV).
Published: November 28, 2007   
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