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ISSS Course Guide

Integrating Theory

What is a theory?

Theories are used to help us understand and analyze relationships between two variables, or the likely outcome of a particular situation.


1. The social learning theory, developed by Bandura, describes how people learn from observation and imitate or model their behaviours on the behaviours of the individuals around them.

2. The theory of supply and demand is used to explain the relationship between the supply of a good and the demand for it.

How to find theories:

Relevant theories are not always found within the literature on your topic.  You may have to look at your textbooks and course-packs to find descriptions of theories.  CREDO reference, available through the library webpage, is also an excellent resource for finding theories.

Applying Theory

Why? Using a theory connects your work to existing knowledge. It supports your ideas, and strengthens your arguments.

How? Describe a situation, and how your chosen theory explains the likely outcome, or the relationship between specific variables.

Example: The theory of supply and demand supports the idea that the price of oil will increase as we deplete the Earth’s available stores.

Referencing: The reference for your chosen theory must be cited in the style chosen by your professor.