Title

Critical Theorizing: Enhancing Theoretical Rigor in Family Research

Authors

Stan J. Knapp

Keywords

behavioral research, critical theorizing, marital relations, theory and research

Abstract

Theory performs vital descriptive, sensitizing, integrative, explanatory, and value functions in the generation of knowledge about families. Yet theory and research can also simultaneously misconceive, desensitize, misdirect, misinterpret, and devalue. Overcoming the degenerative potentialities of theory and research requires attention to critical theorizing, a joint process of (a) critically examining the explicit and implicit assumptions of theory and research and (b) using dialogical theoretical practices. I draw upon the work of John Stuart Mill to argue that critical and dialogical theorizing is a vital and necessary practice in the production of understandings of family phenomena that are more fully scientific and empirical. A brief examination of behavioral research on marital interaction illustrates the importance of critical theorizing.

Original Publication Citation

Knapp, Stan J. 2009. “Critical Theorizing: Enhancing Theoretical Rigor in Family Research.” Journal of Family Theory and Review 1: 133-145

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2009-09-29

Publisher

Journal of Family and Theory and Review

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor

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