Significance of literature when constructing a theory: a selective literature review
Phetlhu, Deliwe R.
Klopper, Hester C.
Linda, Ntombizodwa S.
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The issues around use of literature in theory construction are often a source of confusion, especially for novice researchers. The very nature of the process of theory construction remains blurred due to lack of consensus among researchers. Novice researchers are often confronted with questions of whether or not a literature review should be conducted when constructing a theory. These questions seeking to justify what a credible methodology is when constructing a theory not only challenge novice researchers but also experienced researchers. This article explores different perspectives regarding the significance of literature review in theory construction. A selective literature review was used to access and interrogate selected arguments from published peer-reviewed work. Narrative analysis was used to analyse selected text. It is concluded that literature plays a pivotal role in theory construction, whether by active review in the case of novice researchers or being sensitised by virtue of discipline interest and prolonged exposure in experienced researchers. However, it is important not to disregard the view that it is not necessary to incorporate literature review in certain specific designs due to assumed influence on the outcome of the new theory.