Theory and Research
Theory informs our research by:
• Helping us identify our unit of analysis
• Identifying the settings where we will
observe our phenomenon
• Identifying the independent and
• Identifying possible intervening factors
• Identifying hypotheses and expected
• Macrotheory deals with large,
aggregate entities of society or
• Struggle between economic
classes, international relations
• Microtheory deals with issues at the
level of individuals and small
Dating behavior, jury
deliberations, student faculty
• Marx suggested social behavior
could be seen as the process of
Attempt to dominate others.
Attempt to avoid domination.
• Identifies conflict between social
groups as the primary force in
society; understanding the bases
and consequences of conflict is the
key to understanding social
• Weberian conflict theory identifies
multiple bases of social stratification
(class status, and power) and treats
ideas as an important influence on
the political and economic system
• Interactions revolve around
individuals reaching understanding
through language and other
• Can lend insights into the nature of
interactions in ordinary social life.
• Focuses on the symbolic nature of
social interaction--how social
interaction conveys meaning and
• A social entity, such as an organization,
can be viewed as an organism.
• A social system is made up of parts, each
of which contributes to the functioning of
• This view looks for the “functions” served
by the various components of society.
• A social theory that explains social
patterns in terms of their
consequences for society as a whole
and emphasizes the
interdependence of social
institutions and their common
interest in maintaining the social
• Focuses on gender differences and
how they relate to the rest of social
• Draws attention to the oppression of
women in many societies, and sheds
light on all kinds of oppression.
• An inductive approach to the study
of social life that attempts to
generate a theory from the constant
comparing of unfolding
Linking Social Scientific
Theory and Research
1. Deduction - Deriving expectations
or hypotheses from theories.
2. Induction - Developing
generalizations from specific
1. Pick a topic.
2. Specify a range: Will your theory apply
to all of human social life, only certain
3. Identify major concerns and variables.
4. Find out what is known about the
relationships among the variables.
5. Reason from those propositions to the
topic you are interested in.
Writing of the Research
8 central questions:
what do we need to better understand your topic?
what do we know little about in terms of your topic?
What do you propose to study?
What are the settings and people you will study?
What methods do you plan to use to provide data?
How will you analyze the data?
What ethical issues, barriers, limitations will you
What do preliminary results show about the
practicality and value of your proposed study?
Begin with an outline
I. Introduction: III. Procedures/Methods:
Statement of the problem Description/validation of
Purpose of the study method choice
Research question Data collection procedures
Hypotheses/Predictions Types of data
II. Review of the literature:
What we already know IV. Significance of the Study
Why the question is interesting
Previous methods and findings V. Ethical considerations,
Gaps, limitations, weaknesses Limitations, barriers, solutions
VI. Preliminary Findings
VII. Expected Outcomes
Consistent terms (concepts, var.
Moving from Big ideas to concrete
Coherence (from ¶ to ¶; section to
Writing the Research
“A good dramatic story sets up an
equation and solves it.”
Interesting question – believable
Structure of a good story
b) Inciting incident
Structure of a good paper
ACT I: INTRODUCTION
a) Exposition: (Background info)
b) Inciting incident: (The problem)
ACT II: LITERATURE AND METHODS SECTION
a) Complication: (Competing explanations)
b) Crisis: (the unanswered question)
c) Decision: (methods of answering/solving
ACT II: CONCLUSION
a) Resolution: (the answer)
b) Epilogue: (qualifications)
• Literature Review
• Methods Section
• Expected Results, problems,
• The narrative hook
• Identify the problem
• Studies that have addressed
• Deficiencies in these studies
• Importance of current study