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BIG PICTURE. Exploring your topic/question through the eyes of the theorist. Leave your opinions out of it! DO NOT answer your question according to your own opinions and then attempt to use the theory to support your opinion. EXAMPLE QUESTION. My topic: gender and the legal profession

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Big picture

BIG PICTURE

  • Exploring your topic/question through the eyes of the theorist.

  • Leave your opinions out of it!

    • DO NOT answer your question according to your own opinions and then attempt to use the theory to support your opinion.


Example question

EXAMPLE QUESTION

  • My topic: gender and the legal profession

  • My question/problem: Why are female lawyers more likely to work in public interest law than male lawyers?


Wrong approach

WRONG APPROACH

  • I think that women prefer working in these settings because they are more family friendly work environments. How can I support this opinion using Marx?


Better approach

BETTER APPROACH

  • What does Marx think? I know for Marx, everything is about class and the internal contradictions of capitalism, so let me start there...


Tips for applying the theory

TIPS FOR APPLYING THE THEORY

  • Marx

    • Who are the bourgeoisie in this case?

    • Who are the proletariat?

    • Who is exploiting who? Who profits?

    • How are they exploiting them?

    • How does this cause alienation?

    • Etc.


Tips for applying the theory1

TIPS FOR APPLYING THE THEORY

  • Durkheim

    • What is the structure I am examining?

    • What is the necessary and desirable condition?

    • Is there an external threat?

    • If there is a threat, how is it affecting the structure's ability to achieve the necessary and desirable condition?

    • Consider the division of labor, solidarity, etc.


Tips for applying the theory2

TIPS FOR APPLYING THE THEORY

  • Weber

    • How do class, status, and party play a part in my topic?

    • Are there organizations involved in my topic? What kind of authority do they represent?

    • Etc.


Tweak your question

TWEAK YOUR QUESTION

  • Ask the question the way the theorist might ask it. This is part of exploring as the theorist would.

    • EXAMPLE: Marx would want to know where the class conflict is in my topic, so I had to consider the relationships and answer the questions Marx would ask.

    • EXAMPLE: Durkheim doesn't care about class. He would want to know about the division of labor, whether it was creating solidarity, and whether that was functional.


Summary

SUMMARY

  • Let the theorist shape your analysis of your topic.

    • What question would the theorist ask?

    • How would the theorist answer the question?

  • Keep your opinions out!

    • You might disagree with what the theorist thinks, but that's okay.

    • No expressive writing in exploratory.


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