Writing in the Social Sciences
Essay 2 (25%): Theory Response Essay
Background: The study of human beings can be a messy business. As a result, social scientists do not generally establish fixed laws or argue for absolute truths. Instead, research is based on theories of human behavior and human systems. It’s important to understand that theories are not laws; they are not perfect, absolute, or fixed. They are forever in need of tweaking.
For this assignment, you may well be doing some tweaking.
Theory Response Essay: You are to find a psychological, sociological, education, or communication theory that interests you. You are to then research the theory to see what social scientists are currently exploring (secondary research) and then conduct primary research, through interviews, surveys, or both, to see how the theory applies in an area you have chosen.
Possible Social Science Theories:
• Communication Theories
• Psychology Theories
• Sociology Theories
• Political Science Theories
• Anthropology Theories
• Education Theories
A few examples: social facilitation theory; attribution theories (including the fundamental attribution error and the self-serving bias); cognitive dissonance theory; bystander effect/diffusion of responsibility; theories on conformity; theories on altruism; and countless others. As always, pick something that interests you, or that may help you in your major.
The essay will be written in APA format. Like your previous project, this will include a title page, an abstract, and a references page. For the essay section, include the following sections:
• An “Introduction” that introduces your theory to your readers, reviews current scholarship on the subject, connects your study with the ongoing conversation, and includes a hypothesis (this section is certainly more than one paragraph, and likely more than one page).
• A “Methods” section that discusses the participants in your study, materials used, the design of the study, and the procedure.
• A “Results” section that reveals the data of your study (this section often has a graph/chart/table to show raw data).
• A “Discussion” section that explains the significance of the findings in light of the study’s aims. This is also where you can reflect on the study, consider ways it could be improved, and/or identify areas of further research that the study brought to light.
In addition to your primary research, you are to include three sources, two of them scholarly.
Write this essay for your ENG 112 classmates. It should be four pages (not including the title page, abstract, or references page). Points will be deducted for failing to meet length as indicated on the rubric.
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