Imperatives for Theories in Social Science: The North-South Divide Notwithstanding

Imperatives for Theories in Social Science: The North-South Divide Notwithstanding

Author by Dr. Aaron Ogundiwin

Journal/Publisher: African And Asian Studies

Volume/Edition: 19

Language: English

Pages: 195 - 319

Abstract

Abstract

 

The paper underscores the place of theories in organizing social science data and experience. It holds that theories are indispensable to social research (The North-South divide notwithstanding), in view of the fact that the framework of knowledge and experience within which theories are established make a meaningful explanation of world phenomenon reasonably possible. It delineates political philosophy and history of ideas from theory and thus, takes care of common mistake social scientists make differentiating between them. Furthermore, the paper on one hand, takes on the scientific requisites of theory such as assumption, concepts (and their functions), hypothesis (and its characteristics typology), law, models, paradigm and provides lucid conceptual analysis of each with a view to showing their relatedness to theory but not as synonyms to it. On the other hand, we singled out dependency theory in its emanation from knowledge and experience of underdevelopment of Third World countries, as the first and perhaps most relevant theoretic explanation of Africa’s underdevelopment.  The paper posits that a good theory that will serve as a rudder for formulation of research questions, problem statement, as well as sustain the data analysis, and findings must parade some, if not all of the following qualities: precision and testability, empirical validity, parsimony, stimulation, and practicability.


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