What is the definition of a theory? There are many possible
ways to define a theory. Below is one possible theory
definition. I believe that this can be viewed as a definition of a
scientific theory, and it may be helpful in thinking about ideas
about feeling, thinking, and human behavior.
A theory can be viewed as a general idea or a set of related
ideas that may help to explain events, phenomena, behaviors,
or research findings.
Not every idea should be consider a theory. Some ideas
may be too specific to be described as a complete theory. An
idea that is fairly general and explains much could be
considered a complete theory. Moreover, the combination of
related or connected ideas can be viewed as a theory.
There are many possible examples of theory. Frankl (1992)
suggested that the search for meaning is a primary motivation.
This idea could be labeled as a theory. It is a general statement
that may explain many behaviors. Also, an idea of how certain
types of intelligence influence certain motives could be
considered a theory.
Frankl, V. E. (1992). Man's Search for Meaning: An
Introduction to Logotherapy. (4th edition). Boston: