Theory Generation for Academic Research

A two-hour Webinar

28th February 2023

Presented by:  Dr Dan Remenyi

What this webinar is about

One of the most important characteristics of academic research is that it should make some contribution to the body of theoretical knowledge. How to develop theory is seldom addressed as a part of a degree course. This is probably because theory generation is as much an art as a science. Nonetheless there is much that can be learnt about theory generation and how to go about producing strong theories. This webinar addresses this important subject.

Objectives of webinar

  1. To explain the importance of theoretical knowledge
  2. To define good practice in theory generation
  3. To discuss how theory may be tested
  4. To point out the limits of theory

Webinar Outline

The essential role of theory in academic research

  • The two principal routes to theory generation
  • Theory as an issue as opposed to theoretical research
  • The scope, application and the limits of theory
  • Ceteris paribus and Occam’s Razor

Different approaches to research

  • Rationalism versus empiricism
  • Different empirical paradigms
  • The role of scholarship
  • Is instrumentalism enough?
  • The need for originality
  • Pragmatism as a research philosophy

What does a competent theory look like?

  • Cause and effect
  • Explanation
  • Meaning
  • Understanding
  • Presentation in words and diagrams
  • Occam’s razor

Theory building

  • What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?
  • What are the issues?
  • What are the relationships between them?
  • How do they relate to other variables?

 Theory testing

  • Strong versus weak theory
  • Understanding Feyerabend and others
  • Can your theory be tested?
  • Falsification as an underpinning principle

Important issues

  • How much of a theoretical contribution is required for a degree?
  • There is no philosophical high-road and expect a theory to develop slowly
  • The generalisation issue
  • Theory and longevity

The webinar will be held on 28 February 2023 from 2:00pm-4:00pm (GMT) via Zoom. The Zoom Room will open at 1:45 pm (GMT).

The cost of attending this webinar is £40.00 per participant. Group discounts are available on request. To book a place, visit

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