Barile, J., & Smith, A.
Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 7(2), 1-5
Publication year: 2016

Jason, Stevens, Ram, Miller, Beasley, and Gleason (2016) argue that the vast majority of theories in community psychology are actually frameworks, while specific and testable theories remain scarce. Suggesting that community psychology could benefit from such theories, the authors identify several impediments to theory development: researcher unwillingness, difficulty defining and operationalizing constructs, and difficulty capturing context. This response addresses the last challenge, highlighting the importance of using appropriate methods when developing testable theories. The difficulty is that context matters, and the vast majority of theories are conceived, tested, and “validated” within a single context – most often at the individual level. Therefore, as the context changes, so must the theory and arguably, the methods. We propose that community psychology’s frameworks provide a useful starting point for theory development and increased focus on innovative methods that account for and measure context are a prerequisite to developing testable, ecologically relevant theories.