Definition of Theory
(noun) A statement that proposes to describe and explain why facts or other social phenomenon are related to each other based on observed patterns.
Examples of Theory
- activity theory
- age stratification theory
- conflict theory
- continuity theory
- cornucopian theory
- dependency theory
- disengagement theory
- emergent norm theory
- grounded theory
- new social movement theory
- queer theory
- resource mobilization theory
- role theory
- scapegoat theory
- social constructionism
- symbolic interactionsim
- Thomas theorem
- value-added theory
- American English – /thEE-uhr-ree/
- British English – /thIUH-ree/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈθɪəri/
- British English – /ˈθɪəri/
- Plural: theories
- A (noun) theorist (noun) theorizes (theorises) about (adjective) theological aspects of society (adverb) theologically.
- “Postmodern theorists, believe that entirely new ways of examining social life are needed and that it is time to move beyond functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist approaches” (Kendall 2006:37).
- “Sociological feminism begins with the observation that for most of the history of sociology women hardly appear in social theory and research. Men’s experiences have been viewed as universal and women’s activities and experiences have been hidden” (Hughes and Kroehler 2008:17).
- “Sociology is the systematic study of human society and social interaction. It is a systematic study because sociologists apply both theoretical perspectives and research methods (or orderly approaches) to examinations of social behavior” (Kendall 2006:2).
- “The discourse of sociology and the concepts, theories, and findings of the other social sciences continually ‘circulate in and out’ of what it is that they are about. In so doing they reflexively restructure their subject matter, which itself has learned to think sociologically. Modernity is itself deeply and intrinsically sociological” (Giddens 1991:43).
- “The presuppositions of any social theory are the positions a theory takes about the nature of human action and the manner in which plural actions are interrelated. The problem of action refers basically to epistemological questions: to problems of idealism and materialism, which are usually formulated sociologically in terms of the relative ‘rationality‘ of the prototypical actor in any theoretical system. The problem of order, on the other hand, refers to the problem of how consistent patterns of such rational or nonrational actions are created: are patterns of action the result of continuous negotiation between relatively separated individuals or is this patterning – at least in part – the result of the imposition (either consensually or coercively) on individuals of a sui generis, prior structure or pattern” (Alexander 1988:223)?
- “Three core theoretical principles are especially important to understanding what feminism is about. These principles, which involve specific approaches to analyzing social and political issues, also point to why feminism isn’t just a movement for women. Gender and power are crucial clements in all people’s lives. First, feminists do not see biological sex as determining a person’s identity. Second, feminism understands that the personal is political. Yet feminism is not only personal. It’s more than a lifestyle issue or a fashion statement or a strategically placed political tattoo. This points to the third core principle: Feminism is a social and political movement that is concerned about the patterns of domination and the politics of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation” (Tarrant 2009:3–6).
- Qualitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Quantitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “theory” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Babbie, Earl. 2013. The Practice of Social Research. 13th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
- Bryman, Alan. 2016. Social Research Methods. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Craib, Ian. 2015. Modern Social Theory. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
- Creswell, John W. 2014. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Jones, Pip, and Liz Bradbury. 2017. Introducing Social Theory. 3rd ed. Malden, MA: Polity Press.
- Layder, Derek. 2006. Understanding Social Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Lemert, Charles, ed. 2017. Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings. 6th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Marsh, Ian, ed. 2002. Theory and Practice in Sociology. London: Prentice Hall.
- Noble, Trevor. 2000. Social Theory and Social Change. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Ritzer, George. 2018. Sociological Theory. 10th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Ritzer, George. 2018. Classical Sociological Theory. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Seidman, Steven. 2017. Contested Knowledge: Social Theory Today. 6th ed. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Singleton, Royce, Jr., and Bruce C. Straits. 2017. Approaches to Social Research. 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Turner, Bryan. S. 2016. The Blackwell Companion to Social Theory. 2nd ed. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley Blackwell.
- qualitative research
- quantitative research
- statistical analysis
Alexander, Jeffrey C. 1988. Action and Its Environments: Toward a New Synthesis. New York: Columbia University Press.
Note: Read for free at the Open Library
Giddens, Anthony. 1991. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Tarrant, Shira. 2009. Men and Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Delaney, Tim, and Tim Madigan. 2015. The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved September 29, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/theory/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
theory. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/theory/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed September 29, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/theory/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“theory.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/theory/>.