Give an explanation of the role of theory in research. Next…

Give an explanation of the role of theory in research. Next, identify a theory in your discipline and explain its basic tenets. Then, with this theory in mind, consider your answer to the following question posed by Dr. Burkholder: “What do I have to believe about the world and about human beings in order for me to accept or use this theory?” Finally, describe the extent to which the epistemological and ontological assumptions of your chosen theory align with the philosophical orientation that reflects your worldview.

The role of theory in research is crucial as it provides a framework for understanding and explaining phenomena, guiding the research process, and generating new knowledge. Theory serves as a lens through which researchers can interpret and make sense of their observations and findings. It helps to organize and structure research by providing a conceptual basis, defining key concepts and relationships, and guiding the formulation of research questions.

In my discipline of psychology, one theory that is widely used is the social cognitive theory (SCT) proposed by Albert Bandura. The basic tenets of SCT revolve around the reciprocal interactions among personal factors, environmental influences, and behavior. According to this theory, human behavior is shaped by cognitive processes, observational learning, and self-regulation.

This theory emphasizes the role of observational learning, where individuals learn by observing the behavior of others, particularly when they see others being rewarded or punished. Individuals also engage in self-regulation, which involves setting goals, monitoring one’s behavior, and applying self-reinforcement or self-punishment strategies. Personal factors such as self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and self-control also play a significant role in shaping behavior.

To accept or use the social cognitive theory, several beliefs about the world and human beings are necessary. Firstly, one must believe that human behavior is not purely determined by external factors or innate instincts but is influenced by cognitive processes and self-regulation. This means acknowledging that individuals can actively shape and control their own behavior through their thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

Additionally, acceptance of this theory requires recognizing the significance of observational learning in shaping behavior. It entails believing that individuals can learn by observing others and that such learning can be influenced by reinforcements and punishments.

Furthermore, to accept or use SCT, one must believe in the relevance and influence of personal factors in determining behavior. This includes accepting the idea that self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and self-control play a critical role in human behavior.

The philosophical orientation that reflects my worldview aligns with the epistemological and ontological assumptions of the social cognitive theory to a large extent. Epistemologically, I believe in a constructivist perspective, which posits that knowledge is actively constructed by individuals through their interactions with the environment and others. This aligns with SCT’s emphasis on cognitive processes and observational learning as mechanisms through which knowledge is acquired and behavior is shaped.

Ontologically, I align with a social constructionist perspective, which suggests that reality is socially constructed through collective interactions and shared meanings. SCT acknowledges the reciprocal interactions between personal factors and environmental influences, emphasizing the interplay between individuals and their social context in shaping behavior. This aligns with my belief that individuals are not isolated entities but are influenced by and contribute to the social world they are part of.

However, it is important to note that while there is alignment between the basic assumptions of SCT and my philosophical orientation, there may still be nuances and complexities that need to be explored. The interdisciplinary nature of research often necessitates the integration of multiple theories and perspectives, and it is essential to critically evaluate and consider the limitations and implications of the chosen theory in the context of specific research questions and objectives.

In conclusion, theory plays a crucial role in research by providing a framework for understanding and explaining phenomena. The social cognitive theory in psychology emphasizes reciprocal interactions among personal factors, environmental influences, and behavior. To accept or use this theory, it is necessary to believe in the importance of cognitive processes, observational learning, and self-regulation in shaping human behavior. The epistemological and ontological assumptions of SCT align with a constructivist and social constructionist perspective, reflecting my worldview. However, it is important to critically evaluate and incorporate multiple theories and perspectives to fully comprehend the complexities of human behavior.