Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

What Theory is Not

Robert I. Sutton and Barry M. Staw
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 40, No. 3 (Sep., 1995), pp. 371-384
DOI: 10.2307/2393788
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2393788
Page Count: 14
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($40.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
What Theory is Not
Preview not available

Abstract

This essay describes differences between papers that contain some theory rather than no theory. There is little agreement about what constitutes strong versus weak theory in the social sciences, but there is more consensus that references, data, variables, diagrams, and hypotheses are not theory. Despite this consensus, however, authors routinely use these five elements in lieu of theory. We explain how each of these five elements can be confused with theory and how to avoid such confusion. By making this consensus explicit, we hope to help authors avoid some of the most common and easily averted problems that lead readers to view papers as having inadequate theory. We then discuss how journals might facilitate the publication of stronger theory. We suggest that if the field is serious about producing stronger theory, journals need to reconsider their empirical requirements. We argue that journals ought to be more receptive to papers that test part rather than all of a theory and use illustrative rather than definitive data.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
371
    371
  • Thumbnail: Page 
372
    372
  • Thumbnail: Page 
373
    373
  • Thumbnail: Page 
374
    374
  • Thumbnail: Page 
375
    375
  • Thumbnail: Page 
376
    376
  • Thumbnail: Page 
377
    377
  • Thumbnail: Page 
378
    378
  • Thumbnail: Page 
379
    379
  • Thumbnail: Page 
380
    380
  • Thumbnail: Page 
381
    381
  • Thumbnail: Page 
382
    382
  • Thumbnail: Page 
383
    383
  • Thumbnail: Page 
384
    384