Writing in the Social Sciences 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. These theories must do two things: They must describe a behavior, and they must make predictions about future behaviors. But they often need tweaking, and for this assignment, you may well be doing some tweaking. Theory Response Essay: You are to find a theory in the field of psychology, sociology, education, communication, or any other social sciences field 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 • Sociological 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.
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