For the essay about over-citing obvious things, see Wikipedia:
Posted on November 12, by pat thomson Lots of doctoral researchers worry about the Th word, Theory. When said aloud, you can often hear the capital T.
It must be important. Now, theory is a term which often gets mixed up with another scary word — concept. Sometimes people use them interchangeably. They are concerned that they will be found out, found wanting. Or they worry that they have made the wrong theoretical choice and someone will notice.
And the next one. You see, the first thing in countering theory fright is to understand what a theory is. A theory is just a way of explaining, of saying how things relate to each other, why they are the way that they are, and how they relate to other things.
Most of us use theories all the time in our everyday lives as we make sense of the world. And we use concepts too. Let me take a pretty prosaic example — a seat belt.
As we all know, a seat belt is a couple of straps. They fasten around your body to stop you lurching forward when the car stops suddenly.
The term seat belt is a kind of shorthand; we can generally say seat belt to someone without having to explain what it is. You might say for example that your body keeps going forward even after the car has stopped. And you could make this statement more Theory-like by referring to something more general and abstract like, say, the work energy principle and conservation laws.
These two theories draw on and link together multiple concepts — work, energy, power and conservation. This term is something Barbara and I literally cobbled together to save us having to consistently explain one of our key ideas about academic writing.
But when we wanted to explain the concept, to say how and why it is that writing is a way of forming an identity, and how and why writing is framed and limited, then we had to turn to theory.
More than one theory as it happens. We had to draw on theory about identity, and theory about text.
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The theory of communities of practice draws attention to what people do and who they are within discipline communities. Sometimes we used the idea of discourse to connect writers and writing with questions of subjectivity, power and knowledge.
But if we wanted to emphasise the capacity of the writer to make decisions about their writing, we chose to talk about identity theory which focuses on the writer, text and audience.
Depending on who we were talking to, and what we were trying to do, we drew on different theoretical resources. Theories are of different orders, and they have different status. Theories are plausible explanations that we accept at the moment.
But when we get to very complex phenomena, where bigger and more ambitious explanations are needed, theories are often highly contested. There is no agreement about the best approach. Theoretical explanations are, we might say, partial.
String theory is still being worked on, worked over and worked out — and may at some point be abandoned altogether for simply not having enough explanatory capacity. And in social science and the humanities, theory is generally of this less agreed kind — it is contested and partial.
And because of this complexity, scholars have invented a variety of theories to explain social phenomena, to explain the world.We Make Our Professional Biography Writing Service Affordable and Quality for You. So, when you order for a paper from us, rest assured that we are writing according to the demands.
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