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John E. Swan and Warren S. Martin - page 9 / 15





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The Theory-Setting-Testable Hypothesis Model

posited to apply only to workers that were intrinsically sat- isfied; that is, intrinsic satisfaction is a boundary condition. The design of the study would need to include a method of selecting salespeople that were intrinsically satisfied.

Domain incongruence appears to be a problem in the set- ting selected by Cronin and Taylor (1992) to test the implic- it proposition that as consumer satisfaction with a service increases, purchase intentions increase. Cronin and Taylor (1992) define the domain of satisfaction as being transaction specific, in contrast to attitude as a long-run overall evalua- tion. However, the satisfaction question was not transaction specific. Domain consistency was evident in Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1988) as the domain for service quali- ty was assumed to be a long-run evaluation of a service, not transaction specific, and their measure of service quality was the respondent's long-run experience with a service.

Summary of the Theory-Setting-Test Model

In summary, we illustrate a three-step procedure for devel- oping hypotheses from theory (see Table 1):

  • 1.

    Theory and predictions,

  • 2.

    Setting and propositions, and

  • 3.

    Testable hypotheses and measurement.

The three-step process of developing theoretically linked hypotheses started with the theory step and identification of a theoretical statement that relates an independent variable to a dependent variable. The concepts that comprise the independent and dependent variables are defined to specify what part of the empirical world the theory includes. The relationship between concepts in the theoretical statement are identified and made explicit in two ways: First, the oper- ational linkage specifies how the concepts are related (e.g., as X increases, Y increases); and second, the reason the con- cepts are related constitutes the theoretical explanation. The result of completing the theory step should be a clear under- standing of a theoretical model of the phenomena of interest.

The setting and proposition step consists of moving the second major step in hypotheses development down a ladder of abstraction and identifying a specific setting that is with- in the domain of the theoretical concepts. To help ensure that the setting is a logical subset of the theoretical statement, bridge laws, assumptions that justify the propositional level concepts and statements, are identified. The set of bridge laws should be examined for logical consistency, and a tool for that task is the chain syllogism. The outcome of the proposition step should be a set of propositions. The last major step, testable hypothesis and measurement, is accom- plished by replacing the concepts in the proposition with operational definitions and choosing a statistical test that will measure the form of the relationship between the con- cepts. Finally the domain of the theoretical statement, that part of the theoretical world to which the statement applies, must be examined to set the boundaries of the theoretical model. The setting for hypothesis testing must be within those boundaries. We now offer some suggestions for using the model in a doctoral seminar.

Using the Theory-Setting-Test Model in a Philosophy of Science Seminar

The major purpose of the theory-setting-test model is to assist doctoral students in developing skills to integrate phi- losophy of science ideas about theory with a substantive topic of interest to develop testable hypotheses. To do so, the student must leam how to make connections between mate- rial in the philosophy of science, a substantive empirical research topic, and research methods for hypotheses testing. We explain how our seminar (1) provides doctoral students with an initial experience in integrating theory, a substantive topic, and research methods and (2) identifies how the sem- inar is positioned to provide skills that students can further develop in subsequent doctoral level work.

Seminar Coverage of Theory, a Substantive Topic, and Methods

The seminar is divided into three parts: (1) understanding a research article, (2) research guided by realism as a philos- ophy of science, and (3) qualitative interpretative research as an alternative to realism. Two types of readings are used: (1) conceptual readings that are employed to covey the basic ideas and concepts that seminar covers, for example. Hunt's (1991) Modern Marketing Theory, and (2) illustrative read- ings that the students are to analyze using ideas from the conceptual readings. The illustrative readings include a set of articles selected by the instructor to illustrate good and poor practice. A limited set of illustrative articles is employed to give the students more time for analysis by reducing the number of new readings. Service quality has been selected as the illustrative topic because it contains articles that provide appropriate examples and as a very minor objective, it is a topic of importance in marketing. Students are not expected to master the illustrative material, and it is not included on the final exam in the seminar.

The seminar starts with understanding a research article as the first major topic. The five two-hour periods on under- standing a research article provide students with an "easy" first experience in relating theory, topic, and method because that is the content of empirical articles in the major marketing journals. This block of the seminar can also be described as learning how to read a hypotheses-testing arti- cle by analysis of its structure or morphology.

Our treatment of the morphology of an article starts with an overview of the components of a research article. The assignment is to read (1) an essay that describes and explains the theory-setting-test model (hereafter the TST essay) and (2) a straightforward research article (Hansen and Robinson 1980). We point out that a research article is focused on a unique contribution to the literature, and iden- tification of the contribution, which should be a clear and specific statement of how the article makes an incremental contribution to knowledge, is an excellent means of gaining an initial understanding of a research article. The contribu- tion is built around one or more theoretical statements, com- posed of concepts and the linkage between concepts. The theoretical statement has been tested by moving it down a ladder of abstraction to a specific setting and reformulating the abstract theoretical statement as a testable hypotheses by finding operational measures for the concepts. Data are col-

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