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
Ex: Quantum physics ----> "Back to the Future," "Star Trek,"
Chaos Theory -----> "Jurassic Park"