Testing theory often raises a number of problems because researchers have to evaluate accurately the validity and reliability of studies being conducted and to test the theory. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the study conducted by Machado and Pata in relation to the Scalar Expectancy Theory. Researchers attempted to test the theory. At this point, the use of Actin, Irvin and Hopkins criteria could be particularly effective.
In terms of testing the theory, the research conducted by Machado and Pata basically meet its purpose because they focused on the evaluation of the Scalar Expectancy Theory. The theory tested identifies clearly key concepts and principles on the ground of which phenomena the theory focuses on can be explained.
Furthermore, the theoretical frame of reference was explained in details because researchers referred to the past studies conducted in the target field to evaluate the Scalar Expectancy Theory. In such a way, researchers grounded their conclusions and the study on past studies and findings. They defined accurately past studies which they have used.
However, researchers focus on the practical aspects of the Scalar Expectancy Theory rather than on the theoretical background. They refer to practical findings and experiments, which they conducted in the course of the study to evaluate the Scalar Expectancy Theory.
On the other hand, the overview of previous studies is grounded on theoretical framework but, still, the researchers do not provide in-depth explanation of the theoretical framework. Instead, they just reveal the fact that past studies were insufficient and new studies are needed.
At the same time, the research questions logically derive from past studies and their theoretical framework and gaps, which the researchers have identified. The researchers attempt to continue the study and to explore the theory under their consideration further on.
The research question is specific and accurate. In such a way, the researchers define clearly the scope and purposes of the study. Furthermore, the researchers use operational definitions, which they attempted to intertwine with theoretical references. However, the poor theoretical framework of their own study and the reference to other studies as the basis for the theoretical framework make the study and operational definitions not reliable because there is no direct link between the researchers’ theoretical developments and their operational definitions.
The design of the study basically meets with the level of the theory described, although it is possible to point out that the research goes even further than the theoretical framework presented by the researchers. Nevertheless, the researchers used reliable and valid instruments to conduct their studies. They conducted testing of the theory that enhanced the reliability of instruments used.
The theoretical framework of the study guides accurately the sample selection. The researchers intertwined closely their sample selection and theoretical framework they develop in the course of their study.
The statistics used by the researchers is accurate, whereas statistical information is tested to be reliable and precise.
The analysis of data and findings of the researchers is detailed. In addition, the researchers identify limitations of the study to reveal possible inaccuracy in the study and its findings.
The researchers make their conclusions and attempt to intertwine them with the theoretical framework. However, it turns out that their findings and conclusions relate to theoretical framework they identified on the ground of other studies conducted before their study.
Acton, Irvin, Hopkins. (1996). “Theory Testing Research: Building the Science.” In J. Kennedy (Ed.) Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives for Advanced Nursing Practice, Sudbury: Iones and Bartlett, p. 338-347.
Machado, A. & P. Pata. (2005). “Testing the Scalar Expectancy Theory (Set) and the Learning-to-time Model (Let) in a Double Bisection Task.” Learning & Behavior, 33(1), p.111-122.