There are different ways in which one can build a theory. However, a few things must be kept in mind:
- Are all relevant factors included?
- Should some factors be deleted because they provide little value?
- Why are you selecting the various factors and why do they relate?
- Gets at assumptions of author and why people should care (underlying economic, social dynamics, etc.).
Christensen (2001) suggested a synthesized model of theory building throughout a range of fields. The model consists of four stages that repeat. This cycle of theory building includes both deductive and inductive modes.
- Observing phenomena, and carefully describing and recording those observations
- Classifying the phenomena into categories of similar things: The aim is to simplify and organize the world in ways that highlight the most meaningful differences amongst phenomena
- Building theories that explain the behavior of the phenomena (describing what causes what, why, and under what circumstances)
- Using theory to predict what they will observe when they go out and observe more phenomena under various conditions for more accurate description, revising a classification scheme and/or articulating a new statement of what causes what under what circumstances
- Once researchers have defined a set of categories that are collectively exhaustive and mutually exclusive, then the theory built becomes a paradigm.