The use of theory in research
- 1.5k Downloads
All researchers should consider the theoretical basis for their studies very early on in the planning stage. The aim of this paper is to describe and discuss how theory (a ‘comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a body of evidence’) can inform and improve the quality and relevance of pharmacy-based research. Theories can be applied at many stages of quantitative and qualitative (and mixed) research processes, including: providing rationale for the study; defining the aim and research questions; considering the methodological stance; developing data collection and generation tools; providing a framework for data analysis, and interpretation. The focus of the paper is on the use of theoretical lenses, their selection and application. Two key theoretical lenses and their potential applications are described: the Theoretical Domains Framework in studies of behavioural change, and Normalization Process Theory in implementing, embedding and integrating interventions.
KeywordsNormalization Process Theory Quantitative Qualitative Theoretical Domains Framework Theoretical lens Theory
Conflicts of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
- 1.Oxford English Dictionary. http://www.oed.com/ (2015). Accessed Jun 2015.
- 2.Rovers J. Advancing pharmacy practice through social theory. Innov Pharm. 2011;2:53.Google Scholar
- 4.Corbin JM, Strauss A. Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Los Angeles: Sage Publications; 2008. ISBN 978-1-4129-0664-9.Google Scholar
- 7.Craig P, Dieppe P, Macintyre S, Michie S, Nazareth I, Petticrew M. Developing and evaluating complex interventions: the new Medical Research Council guidance. Brit Med J. 2008;337:a1665.Google Scholar
- 10.Michie S, Johnson M, Abraham C, Lawton R, Parker D, Walker A, on behalf of the ‘Psychological Theory’ Group. Making psychological theory useful for implementing evidence based practice: a consensus approach. Qual Saf Health Care 2005;14:26–33.Google Scholar
- 16.Normalization process theory. www.normalizationprocess.org/ (2015) Accessed Jun 2015.