Edited by Robin Nunkoo
Tourism research is often critiqued for the ‘stretching’ and ‘contextualizing’ of concepts from other related disciplines and fields. This chapter, therefore, offers theory building and theory evaluation tools that may facilitate the development of knowledge unique to tourism and hospitality. The chapter begins with a review of two dominant paradigms that have greatly influenced all social science research; it then explores methodologies that represent each of the paradigms and provides examples of methods that are relevant to them. Specifically, the chapter provides a snapshot of the methods, and highlights their application in practice, as well as their benefits and disadvantages. Description of the methods is followed by a discussion of two theory building strategies that researchers may apply. The chapter additionally explores an ongoing process of theory building to demonstrate a general process of its development. Lastly, the chapter examines various theory evaluation criteria, and develops a framework that integrates them. Each of the criteria is discussed in detail to facilitate researchers’ understanding of how they may be applied to evaluate an existing theory.
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