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Theory defines, assumes, proposes, describes, and predicts what the research outcome is likely to prove (right or wrong). It is an integrated body of propositions, assumptions, and definitions that are related in describeing and predicting relationships between two or more variables. Theory could be any of the following: deductive, inductive, grounded and axiomatic.

On the other hand, hypotheses are statements or assertions derived from theory that can be tested by scientific inquiry and that are capable of being refuted, and their tests may result in support or nonsupport for the theory from which they were derived.

Scenario

You have been hired as a consultant by the local police commissioner to lend your expertise on criminal justice research for the education of the police captains, who will be developing a new citywide crime prevention strategy. As an introductory task in this position, you are to prepare a letter to the local police captains describeing the theories used to approach your research.

1. What are the key differences between the 4 identified types of research theories above?

2. Is any one type of theory more valid than the others? Why or why not?

3. What are the differences and similarities (if any) between theory and hypothesis?

4. What are variables, and why are they important components of theoretical schemes?

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