Arizona State University (US)
Johnny Saldaña is Professor Emeritus from Arizona State University’s School of Film, Dance, and Theatre. He is the author of Longitudinal Qualitative Research: Analyzing Change through Time, Fundamentals of Qualitative Research, The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers, Thinking Qualitatively: Methods of Mind, Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage, Writing Qualitatively: The Selected Works of Johnny Saldaña, co-author with the late Miles and Huberman for Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook, and co-author with Matt Omasta for Qualitative Research: Analyzing Life. Saldaña’s qualitative methods works have been cited and referenced in more than 30,000 research studies conducted in over 135 countries.
“Developing Qualitative Theory,” presented by Johnny Saldaña
Theory is a ubiquitous but sometimes elusive term in qualitative inquiry. Methodological writers rarely define theory explicitly, nor do they provide specific examples of theories. This keynote address presents a signature approach to theory development.
Saldaña extracts from the literature that a theory, in traditional social science, is a research-based statement with six properties and an accompanying explicating narrative. A theory, most often:
- expresses a patterned relationship between two or more concepts;
- predicts and/or manages action through propositional logic;
- accounts for parameters of and/or variation in the empirical observations;
- explains how and/or why something happens, sometimes by stating its cause(s);
- suggests generalizability and/or transferability to related social contexts; and
- provides insights and/or guidance for improving social life.
Most theories will overtly include at least three to four of six properties, while the other two to three may be implied or inferred.