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Use of Theory in research

My Assignment:
Using provided articles, discuss scholarly views on the nature and types of theory. Compare and contrast at least three views of what constitutes a theory, distinguishing theory from related concepts, such as hypothesis, paradigm, model, and concept. I need to write about 10 pages.

I'm looking for a page or two to help me understand how to approach this - where to begin, how to outline. I'm stuck and looking for some inspiration. I have attached the course materials that I need to work on.


Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hi and thank you for using Brainmass. Usually, I provide a narrative that answers the questions students like you present but in this particular instance, I think that you are asking for assistance in how to discuss the topic of theory application in research. The attachment you provided is a good starting point. I shall assume that you are now familiar with what theory is in terms of how it is used in research. It is rather complex thus you will be expected to discuss this complexity in your paper. As for the 10 page paper, it will be best approached by utilizing an outline. A 10page double-spaced 12Size New Roman Font paper will be around 1,800 words. I suggest the following outline

1. Introduction - what is the paper about, 100 words.
2. Define theory - what is the definition of theory in social science research? 200 words.
3. How are theories created - here trace the origins of a theory and why when a position becomes a theory it is an established way of viewing or studying the social world? 300 words.
4. Theories as paradigms - what is a theory as a paradigm? Use ideas suggested by Thomas Kuhn. 300 words.
5. Theories as perspectives of doing research - here discuss theories as 'tools' of research whereby they are 'paradigms' - schools of thought (i.e. critical theories). 300 words.
6. Sample theoretical application - how exactly are theories used as paradigms? Here use critical theory as an ...

Solution Summary

The solution comes as a form of advise/guidance to the student who asked for assistance in tackling the problem. The solution provides insight, suggests an outline and guides the student in the nature & types of theories, discussing the 3 ways of viewing a theory, explaining how it relates to such concepts as hypothesis, paradigm & model. The solution also lists resources that can be further accessed by the student to explore the topic further.