editing disabled

Welcome to Module 2 Theory & Research Praxis!


  • Focus on "Reflexive Sociology" and research praxis -- wherein the researcher examines reflectively the process of research and anticipates multiple issues (such as ethics, utility and relevance) in bridging theory with methodology;

  • Increase familiarity with sociological theory as applied to educational research and advance critical skills in evaluating theory (in terms of its logic structure and resonance with particular research questions and data);

  • Cultivate the "researcher's voice" in developing an action research plan;

  • Examine the process of conducting a literature review and its influences on how we write up ideas, sociologically (!)


  1. If you have not already done so, locate the "social theory critiques" page on this Wiki and enter those developed in class.

  2. Find an Article that may or may not support your intended research for this class and post it as a reference in our first Discussion thread (using APA format). For the class, offer an academic critique of the article in terms of elements in our rubric (and in terms of your estimate of its utility for your research. This might relate to the theory, or it may relate instead to an analytical insight offered by the piece.) Post in Discussion Thread #1.

Conceptual Mapping

  1. Where might this resource fit compellingly within items or an area of your developing conceptual map for research?

  2. Reflect on the process of concept mapping in action research. How is the process helpful? (Feel free to add comments on the challenges or frustrations of the process.) Post in Discussion Thread #2.


A common experience for researchers (those who are novices and those well into careers with experience) is for them to lose their "voice" in the process of becoming familiar with other researcher's ideas about topics that interest them. Consequentially, literature reviews have the tendency to reduce what began as a creative set of questions and mapping of conceptual ideas into a redundant summary of other people's ideas! I offer a humorous rendition of the reader's reaction to such research, as expressed in Studs Terkel's defense of oral history, to illustrate the point:

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

In thinking about how you would articulate your ideas, using your own voice, do you anticipate challenges? If so, in what areas or why? How might you overcome those challenges? If you don't anticipate challenges, what are the reasons or areas that give you confidence that you can make a compelling authentic argument of your own? Post in Discussion Thread #3.

The Literature Review

I've been known to clean an entire room, clear my desk, even pull out Old English wood polish, before making a tall glass of iced tea to begin writing. It is almost a ritual that if skipped will cause massive migraines or extended writer's block -- or at least, that is what I tell myself. How do you start writing? Depending on WHAT you are writing, the habits can change. Writing an academic literature review, one that may be embedded in the very occupations we hold or involve people that we know well (which is often the case with action research) can be daunting. How do we begin to synthesize social theories, with "the literature" on a topic, with our own ideas and the information we have available to us, using our own words in writing? Start with what we know: our personal habits. The Craig text offers some structure for putting together a literature review.

Share three (3) of your habits in writing a literature review. Which of the text's suggestions do you find most useful? Which are most challenging, and why? Post in Discussion Thread #4.

Have a Great Week!