I have an assignment to write a Theoretical-Conceptual Paper. Could you please explain the framework of this type of paper, and if possible provide an example or topic suggestions. It is for a...

I have an assignment to write a Theoretical-Conceptual Paper. Could you please explain the framework of this type of paper, and if possible provide an example or topic suggestions. It is for a college level class on the subject of social injustice.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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When the term "theoretical concept" is used the assumption is that a tenet, construct, or abstraction will be compared to other tenets, constructs, and abstractions of the same kind (as they are proposed by peers and scholars) in order to prove or disprove a theory.

Sometimes the concept is put to the test by changing the accepted variables that define it. This is done to explain whether the input, the environment in which the input occurs, and the change in variables affect the output.

Social science is the ultimate environment to test theoretical concepts because society and the individuals who compose it consistently change either economically, psychologically, or emotionally just to name a few variables. Hence, when you conduct social research under a theoretical conceptual framework, what you are actually going to do is to

a) Identify and isolate a phenomenology currently taking place in society.

  • Ex: Children in the state of __________ perform poorly in academics and are known as lacking in social skills because it is suspected that they are being engaged in illegal child labor practices.

b) Establish parameters within which you plan to analyze the phenomenon. These are your "only if's" to be considered when conducting your research after weeding out extra information.

Ex:

  • The children are illegal immigrants (or you can also focus on actual US citizens, to make it even more interesting) in the state of ________ working for the "Y" Industry located in _________.
  • The children are under the age of 10
  • The children live with their parents in housing provided by the "Y" industry
  • The children go to public schools
  • Children are suspected of being used for illegal child labor practices.

c) Apply the constructs, tenets of abstractions associated to this theme: for example

  • illegal immigrants use surviving methods as a defense mechanism that include illegal practices such as engaging their own children in child labor.
  • labeling theory tends to demonize illegal immigrants, and this is why they are being suspected of these activities
  • The neoclassical model would support that these immigrants will need to use child labor because of low chances of finding employment.

When doing theoretical conceptual you may either explore the truth behind these theoretical models and come to a conclusion. However you can also change the concept altogether by changing the scenario.

To do this, add a variable to determine whether the theoretical constructs could change if a different variable is applied. For example:

  • if these illegal immigrants won the lottery and became rich, would they suffer as much from labeling theory as those who are poor?
  • How would the neoclassical model be challenged if the immigrants were not illegal, but just destitute.
  • Does it make a difference between white immigrants or ethnically-diverse immigrants? Does race matter even then?

After you define your essential research questions you may be able to contour the research to satisfy the inquiry and develop a conclusion. Your conclusion should decide whether the theoretical concept can change, or would withstand, regardless of the situation.

Sources:

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