As specific parts of a theory are refined over time, the aggregated set of variables and associations of multiple theory instances provide the identity of a theory domain. This research applies a meta-theoretical analysis to the problem of theory identity and the core-periphery distinction. The theoretico-empirical network for quantitative publications over a 20 year span of two top Information Systems journals is analysed and visualized to illustrate these aspects of theory. The analysis provides insight into the density of research in specific theory domains, the verisimilitude and explanatory ubiquity of core versus peripheral postulates, and suggests opportunities for increasing explanatory depth and integration in select theory domains.
Hovorka, Dirk Scott; Birt, James; Larsen, Kai; and Finney, Gavin, "Visualizing the Core-Periphery Distinction in Theory Domains" (2012). ACIS 2012 Proceedings. 64.