Major Principles

The purpose of the weekly theory outlines is to guide your reading of a particular theory, develop a personal study guide for the essay exams and ultimately, comprehensive exams, and ensure you have completed the weekly readings.

The theory outlines should include the following components at a minimum:
1. Major Principles – This section will include an overview of the major principles or assertions of a particular theory. More details regarding the theory and additional research are included in other sections of the outline.
2. Historical Context – Note the social and historical context in which a particular theoretical perspective was developed.
3. Major Contributors – This section will include the researchers who are attributed with founding a particular theoretical perspective, the year in which their seminal work was written, and most importantly, how they contributed (i.e., what did they say?). Usually, it is more than one scholar who has contributed to a theory’s onset.
4. Major Theories – This section will contain an outline of the theories/research that fall under the umbrella of the major school of thought being discussed (e.g., Classical School = Major theoretical perspective; Rational Choice is a theory that falls under Classical School). Students should list the researchers who developed the theory, year introduced, and an outline of what the theory says.
5. Criticisms – What are some of the major critiques of the theoretical perspective being discussed? Outline the criticisms in this section.
6. Policy Implications – How is this theoretical perspective applies in real life via policy or other programs?

Since this outline will serve as a study guide The ultimate goal is to take your understanding of a theory and apply it to real life.