What is Theory? Using a Theoretical Framework
This short video introduces the idea that research is always underpinned by theory. Theories are tried and tested explanations for events and experiences that help us to move from the limitations of common sense to a more precise conceptualisation of the phenomenon. While the notion of ‘theory’ is often misused in everyday encounters (“Oh, that’s just a theory!”), in the university a theory is a powerful tool to assist us in coming to more sophisticated understandings of the issue we’re investigating. This video uses a simple analogy of a pair of glasses to show how theories can help us to look in ways that are more nuanced than what is offered when we look at a phenomenon through our prejudiced and limited ‘everyday eyes’.
Who might find this useful?
This short video is designed for postgraduate scholars but it might be of use to supervisors too, or to anyone running a workshop on the use of theory.
Explore these additional resources
- Trafford,V & Leshem,S. (2008). Stepping Stones to Achieving Your Doctorate: Focusing on Your Viva from the start. Maidenhead: Open University Press
- Leshem, S. & Trafford, V., 2007. Overlooking the conceptual framework. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(1), 93-105.
These blog posts might be of interest too:
- CONCEPTS AND THEORY: CONSTRUCTING A ‘GAZE’ FOR YOUR STUDY
- Choosing the right theory is like op-shopping
- What does it mean to ‘theorise’ research?