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ERIC Number: ED279912
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Pages: 38
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Working with Versus Working on Theories in Social Psychology.
Shaw, Jerry I.; Woodward, Carol
In recent years there have been a few systematic attempts to restructure social psychology in which all have concurred that there is a dearth of provocative and meaningful theoretical contributions in contemporary social psychology. Current theories are unnecessarily limited in scope. These theories are fragmented, have limited implications, lack a common framework, and fail to explicate underlying assumptive bases. Contemporary social psychological theorizing is dominated by the practice of working with theories (verification) instead of working on theories (explanation). Whereas the former practice casts theory in a role secondary to data collection by neglecting extrascientific influences, the latter incorporates sociohistorical determinants thereby elevating theory to a position of fundamental importance in the description of social life. Consequences of continued allegiance to working with theories include lack of applicability to everyday life, an overemphasis on variables, and the neglect of meaning. The solution is not to end experiments or the hypothetico-deductive method, but to offset the relative inattention paid to theoretical endeavors. Working on theories will require a major shift in the primary activities of many persons engaged in social psychological research which will engender a flexibility that will contribute to an enriched understanding of social life. (An extensive reference list is included.) (Author/ABL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A