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Sociology & Anthropology Capstone - SOAN 400 - Herr

Theory

  • What framework(s) or perspective(s) are the articles using to frame your topic?
    • Check the introduction, literature review, and/or abstract
    • Models are not theories; however, they are influenced by a theoretical framework
      • Theories are used to explain things, while models are used to discover things.
  • What works are cited in the literature review or listed in the references?
    (This may provide clues to what theory/perspectives are being used.)
    • Look for words like paradigm, theory, perspective, or framework 
    • EX: Citing J. Piaget (in psychology) provides a Constructivist framework.
  • What are the key arguments/questions?
    • Check in the abstract and/or introduction
    • Sometimes arguments are based on a theoretical framework
  • Are similar questions posited by your sources?
    • Similar questions show a gap or need for explaining a “phenomenon”
  • How are the articles defining the key terms you note? Are the various researchers in agreement with what these terms mean? If different researchers define these terms in different ways, it may have implications for how to address these concepts in the "field."
    • EX. How is culture defined?
    • Definitions can lead you to a discipline or theoretical perspective used to explain a concept.

Example articles:

  1. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=97807924&authtype=sso&custid=s8498535&site=ehost-live&scope=site&authtype=ip,shib&custid=s8498535
  2.  https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=138988376&authtype=sso&custid=s8498535&site=ehost-live&scope=site&authtype=ip,shib&custid=s8498535

Search for your topic in a database, but add "theory" in the abstract field. Since theories are typically mentioned in the abstract, this will help pinpoint potentially relevant theories.

 

 

Haven't found a relevant theory to use? Try feminism or critical theory for testing purposes during class.

 

Haven't found a relevant theory to use? Try critical theory for testing purposes during class.

1.)  Use the Encyclopedia of Social Theory or other encyclopedia (wikipedia is good, too!) to read an overview of a theory you'd like to explore. 

2.) Identify the important theorist(s) related to/responsible for that theory.

3.) Search for the theorist's name, along with your topic, in Library Search.

Haven't found a relevant theory to use? Try critical theory for testing purposes during class.

1.)  Use the Encyclopedia of Social Theory to read an overview of a theory you'd like to explore. Next, look through the bibliography for sources for your paper relating to the theory.

*Important note: Do not cite the encyclopedia in your research; instead, use it as a reference to refresh your memory or get an overview of a topic. You can then explore the bibliography to find sources that discuss theory.

Sample bibliography/references list:

 

2.)  Search for the references in our Library Search

Search for your topic in a database's book reviews.  Book reviews will often highlight theory discussed in a book. They're also a great source for summaries of important concepts within your area of research, and you may notice who agrees with whom and what arguments come up repeatedly.

 

This can also be done using the filters in Library Search:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haven't found a relevant theory to use? Try feminism or critical theory for testing purposes during class.