Theory Development Activity & Paper
1. Observe the social behavior in your everyday life, i.e. students on a college campus, the workplace, technology, social networks (friends, family, peers), etc.
? Take a lot of notes while observing
2. Come up with possible explanations to explain the behaviors you have observed
? These should be social or structural causes, not psychological motivations
3. Write a paper following the steps below
Steps to writing your theory (paper):
Step 1 (Intro paragraph): 2 points
? Establish your topic. Something you have experienced or observed.
? State in argumentative form. For instance, your thesis should be written in a similar form to, ?In this paper, I will argue x?. You should only have one argument. The rest of your paper is to support your argument.
o Your thesis sentence should be the last sentence of your intro paragraph
Step 2: 4 points
? Explain and predict the phenomena in question (what you think will happen)
? Demonstrate your ability to produce testable and thus falsifiable hypotheses (thesis)
o Must be testable by observational data (For example, you watch how people behave in a certain circumstance, count how many times something happens, etc. Avoid guessing peoples? internal motivations.)
o For example: ?When x happens, I expect y to happen?
? Establish your theoretical framework (refer back to ?introduction? PowerPoints and textbook). Consider how both order and action shape behavior:
o Order- Asks what accounts for the patterns and/or predictability of behavior that lead us to experience social life as routine.
? Example: Collective
? People stop at a stop sign because it is the law
? Example: Individual
? You personally do not want to get in trouble or because you personally value it as the right thing to do
o Action- Considers the factors that motivate individuals or groups to act.
? Example: Rational
? You do not want to get a ticket
? Example: Non-rational
? You stop because it?s habit; you don?t even consciously think about it
Step 3: 2 points (based on effort)
? State your observations using the notes you have taken
o Your observations should be directly related to your thesis
o Discuss whether or not your observations supported your thesis
o Provide possible explanations for why or why not and revise your theory accordingly
Step 4: 2 points (2 points are accredited if all concepts are defined)
? Define any theoretical concepts you apply, such as gender, stratification, class, etc.
Step 4: Conclusion paragraph
Page Requirements: To be accepted for credit
1. Minimum of 2 pages double-spaced
2. Font (Times New Roman, Size 12)
3. Margins 1? on all sides
4. Include your name, student ID number, professor?s name, date, title and course title/section
Citations: To be accepted for credit
1. Though resources are not required, you will most likely use your text at some point for definitions or for support of your argument (make sure to cite the text if used).
2. The formatting, whether it be MLA, ASA, APA, etc. is up to you
3. Must include in-text citations
4. Must include references page
Tips for success:
1) Take as many notes as possible while observing the social phenomena. This can include:
a. Population size
c. What you hear and see
d. If you are observing, for instance, cellphone usage in the work place in relation to age, an easy way to keep track of the numbers is to set up a table prior to observing, then keep a tally. So, Ages 15-18, 19-22, 23-26, 27&older ? leave room next to each to tally the usage.
2) Use your notes to write full sentences for your paper as soon as possible. You do not want to have to rely on your memory.
3) Be creative. Take this an opportunity to think outside of the box. However,
4) Do not get hung up on being completely original. Theories tend to build off of one another; altering the subject matter or point of view
5) Define the concepts you use
6) Keep your argument in mind. Focus on articulating clear and concise ideas to explain and support your theory.