What Makes for a Good Theory? How to Evaluate a Theory Using the Strength Model of Self-Control as an Example

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This chapter adopts a metascientific perspective and discusses two basic questions: (1) What are criteria for evaluating the quality of a psychological theory? (2) What are criteria for evaluating the empirical evidence related to a theory? The chapter discusses these criteria on a general level and by examining one specific theory and accompanying empirical work as an illustrative example—the Strength Model of Self-Control by Baumeister and colleagues (Baumeister and Heatherton Psychol Inq 7:1–15, 1996; Baumeister and Vohs Adv Exp Soc Psychol 54:67–127, 2016). Although necessarily incomplete, the discussed criteria for the quality of theorizing and empiricism can be applied to many theories in (social) psychological research. They are therefore relevant not only to basic research, but also to any applied work that is grounded in theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Psychology in Action : Evidence-Based Interventions from Theory to Practice
EditorsKai Sassenberg, Michael L. W. Vliek
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature AG
Publication date01.01.2019
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-13787-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-13788-5
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2019

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