COM 270
Introduction to Theories of Human Communication
Lecture 4: What Is A Good Theory?

I. What makes a theory a "good" theory?

A. Explanatory power -- does the theory do an accurate and thorough job of explaining the phenomenon in question?

B. Predictive power -- does the theory enable us to forecast future events and outcomes more precisely and accurately?

 C. New understanding -- does the theory provides us with new and fresh insights about the phenomenon?

Ex: Ptolomy's "geocentric" model vs. Copernicus's "heliocentric" model

Ex: Darwin's Theory of Evolution

D. Societal value -- does the theory help to improve the human condition in some substantive way? does it stimulate or generate positive change and reform in society?

Ex: Atomic power?

E. Aesthetic appeal -- does the theory capture our interest and imagination? does it picque our curiosity about the phenomenon being explained?

Ex: Quantum physics ----> "Back to the Future," "Star Trek,"

Chaos Theory -----> "Jurassic Park"




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