• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Metatheory

  • By: Emily Haas & Marifran Mattson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Metatheory is theory about theory. A metatheory guides scholars and researchers in theorizing about and studying social phenomena. With regard to health communication, metatheories can guide theoretical inquiry by addressing questions about communicating with target audiences, patients, other consumers/clients of health care, and various stakeholders when trying to learn about these groups' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Metatheories also reveal interrelationships among behavior change theories pertaining to a particular audience. The following sections provide a definition of metatheory, present metatheoretical assumptions, and summarize the traditions associated with metatheorizing.

Four Metatheoretical Assumptions

Every theory consists of metatheoretical assumptions. The metatheoretical assumptions in communication theories guide assessment, creation, evaluation, and further theorizing by articulating implicit assumptions within theories, determining what knowledge can be acquired from theories, and articulating how theories ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles