Steps in Construction and formulation of Sociological Theory
The construction and formulation of a sociological theory is very old but in past, there was no systematic and organized method for its formulation and verification. The theorists were unable to know that either their theories are valid or invalid but today there is a standard of verification of theories. The process of theory construction occurs in a social situation and it depends on the environment of the thinker and his personal inclination. Following are some steps for the construction of a sociological theory.
The first step involved in theory construction is the causal relationship between independent and dependent variables must be explained logically. The explanation of cause and effect relationship must contain the elements of universality and uniformity with reference to time and place.
Definition of Concepts
Second step is the definition of concepts in a proposition. These concepts must be defined and explained clearly which give a precise and meaningful characteristics.
Relationship between Concepts
There must be a logical relationship between the well-defined concepts of the propositions. The concepts should be explained with logic and reason. These explanations should be clear from any confusion or contradiction. The explanation of the concepts must have a relationship.
Theoretical concepts are the changing values or variables while the logical relationship is consider as hypothesis, and is subjected to test. This is very, important component in theory construction because the validity of sociological theory is based no the validity of hypothesis to be tested.
The fifth step in theory construction is the testing of proposed hypothesis empirically through scientific research methods the hypothesis after testing may be true or wrong but this process is compulsory.
The collected information’s in figures is statistical data analysis while the descriptive information’s are called non-statistical analysis. Data collection and its analysis is based on the tested and verified hypothesis. The analysis of data gives some findings in favor and some against the hypothesis.
The collected data is interpreted and generalized to develop a theory. This is very crucial and critical stage of theory construction because the findings may be interpreted in many ways and there is a danger of Mis-interpretation of the findings so, the generalization of the data would be either in favor or against the theory.
Evaluation of Theory
The last step in theory construction is the evaluation of theory construction is the evaluation of theory in the light of collected facts after interpretation and generalization. The theory may be evaluated as true or false, partially or fully. Postulates are the first step of theory and its mathematical form is called the law.