Forms And Functions Of Theory Education Essay

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Cottrell (2005, pg 149) defines theory as "a set of ideas that helps to explain why something happen or happened in a particular way". It provides an explanation or gives some ideas about likely outcomes.

Theory (ref MScHwTM the dissertation module lecture notes) is something that explains or predicts. It can be related to past, present and future. Theory is very important as without it knowledge and understanding stops. It helps us to understand our world. The form of theory is what it looks like and function is what can be proved through it.

Theory is based on the following methodology:

1. Position or Stance

2. Reasons

3. Evidence

4. Conclusions

It works according to its methodology. Theory is a simple statement that predicts or explains any kind of work which is supported by arguments having proper reasons following the strong evidence and then it goes to final conclusion. But sometimes it may work in different order. A conclusion may equate to a position. However a theory should always be able to explain the reasons behind what possibly happens and why does it happens.

Cottrell (2005,pg 149) characterizes "academic theory as based on facts as they are known at the time and that can be proved and put out to be tested and verified".

All the theories have to be testable, if something cannot be tested or verified than its not good theory. When something is persuaded and believed without providing proper evidence, it's not theory, then its assertion. While testing of a theory, quality of evidence is very important. Always a valid position should be taken out after proper evaluation of the work, the reasons behind and then it should be considered that the evidence provided is reliable or not, before reaching to any conclusions.

Arguments are very similar to theory, but unlike theory they are used to persuade. Theory can always use arguments with proper reasons that provide strong evidence before reaching the final result.

Evidence (ref MScHwTM the dissertation module lecture notes) refers to anything that is used to determine or demonstrate a belief. A strong evidence is used to provide support to reasons in order to reach the final conclusion. It should be always kept in mind that evidence provided must, above all be related with theme that is being studied.

Evidence must possess the following characteristics:

1. Authentic

2. Valid

3. Reliable

This means if evidence is authentic then it is unquestionable, secondly if it's valid then it follows the rules applicable to the studied subject and last but not the least it must have reliability so that it gives assurance that evidence has reputability.


Critical Appraising (ref MScHwTM the dissertation module lecture notes) implies the reasoned judgement about the worth and value of something. To be able to critical appraise something there must be a process of thinking critically, through which we can understand the reasoned worth of the written piece of work. Critical thinking is a complex process, associated with reasoning which includes a range of skills. It helps in deciding what to accept and believe. According to Cottrell (2005, pg3) "while doing analysis of other peoples work it is necessary to identify the reasons and conclusions, how they select to organize a line of reasoning and if they support the conclusions and whether their reasons are based on legitimate evidence or not".

The basic steps (ref MScHwTM the dissertation module lecture notes) to follow while appraising others works are:

1. What do we want to establish?

2. What needs to be included to do fair judgement?

3. How can we apply the reasons and find whether they support the conclusion or not?

4. How can we evaluate or measure the outcomes, so that we can give a sound judgement. And to see whether all reasons are based on right evidence?

Critical appraisal is based on reliable evidence, with sensible thinking. It is all about thinking independently and taking decisions based upon reasons and actions based upon evidence to give a fair and sound judgement of the subject. While doing critical appraising it is very much important to study what author is claiming and the evidence provided by him. The methodology used by him and the explanations to prove it. It is important to see the quality and quantity of references used by the author and find out whether the result given by him is convincing or not.

Critical appraising is a reasoned judgement.

For Example:

Nowadays, cinema industry is growing widely around the globe. Plenty of movies are released every week. So, it is difficult for the population to decide between the available options. People generally depend on the critics to choose among the movies. It is the job of critic's writer to write on the latest flicks. So, for the Editor (who writes the critics) it is a big task. The chosen movie is his subject and he studies the movie by watching it carefully. He thinks about every sequence and writes the important points for himself. It is job of the editor to think independently and to give the right decisions, like whether the story is clear and catchy or its complicated or the concept used is logical or not? , he looks whether the cast selected for that movie is appropriate or not, the performance of the actors is up to the mark or poor? And before coming to any final conclusion the editor thinks critically i.e.; he draws results based on the logical and persuasive techniques which are used to make movie more interesting.

He identifies the techniques used by the director of that movie, to prove his subject. For ex-the videography, locations, stunts, action sequences etc.He concludes whether the movie is for separate audience or is it a regular movie. Editor gives reasoned judgement based upon all the aspects of the movie. Therefore; this is all what is known as critical appraising of a particular subject.

Appraising students part- time work issues

It is very much understood by the title that it is to identify the part time work issues among the students and universities. The author has done research to examine a pattern of part time working among a group of hospitality students studying at a university in Scotland. He has also observed the research of many other researchers in his article. Hospitality students have been chosen because of the professional nature of their program. He has also aimed to determine the reasons for the involvement of more and more students in part time work and the responsibility of universities and industry to develop closer links in order to help students focus on work and studies all together. According to him, nowadays a large number of students are engaged in some sort of part time employment. It is considered as important as studies by them.

The research shows that increasing tuition fees and higher living expenditure is inclining more and more students to get in part time employment. Full time students in countries like Australia and UK are employed or want some employment. This helps them to pay for their additional expenses and they can even gain some valuable experience of the industry. But studying and working together is like playing a dual role and managing both is not easy for every student.

According to the research, employment helps students in developing confidence, communication skills and the all-round personality, but on the other hand it invites more stress on mind and body of the students. It can be seen in article that some students gain from the part time employment and some even suffer from poorer grades. Research is based on the opinions of different authors. Some have stated the benefits of part time employment and some disagree with them.

As to find out, a questionnaire had been prepared for undergraduate students studying at a Scottish university. Questionnaire prepared was more objective in nature as most of the questions required yes/no response to help students answer easily .It had been administered under the supervision of a researcher. All students with and without part time work attempted the questionnaire. It had three sections concerned with demographics, job specifications and working benefits for students.

Total 232 questionnaires were completed. The average population of students which undertook the research was under 24 years of age and the majority of population was female students. The calculation showed that 150 students (65%) were doing some kind of part timework. As per the results according to this method, some main reasons behind the students getting engaged in employment:

1. Financial concerns (60%)

2. Gaining experience (12%)

3. Developing practical skills (9%)

4. Developing career contacts (8%)

5. Developing personal skills (7%)

It has been also founded that hospitality and retail industries are among the top employing industries for students. According to the research, as found under previous studies like this, the average tenure period of students with their employer was 14 months and some stayed with employer for 30 months and there were few students who were still employed with the companies with whom they undertook the placement in the second year of university. The major population who undertook this questionnaire comprised of female students and as per the results the female (69%) students were more involved in part time work than male (57%) students.

The research done by author is quite impressing but the population observed i.e. (just 232 questionnaires) is not big enough to reach the exact results. He has only focused on some undergraduate students, which is not fair enough because the post graduate students are also involved in the work while studying. However, according to me the methodology used is strong and appropriate. Secondly, author has used cross tabulations to show the statistical difference between the genders engaged in part time employment, which is quite weak and confusing as the explanation for it is not complete enough.

Figure 2, which is used to identify the total working hours of each gender is clear and easily understandable, but it could not provide the right data between genders and hours work. The author has stated that the average working hours of each gender could be seen in figure 3, which is completely wrong because it has nothing to do with average working hours, figure 3, is concerned with the different nationality of students engaged in employment which shows that polish and east European students are mostly involved in work as they are big in population.

According to the research, it could be seen that students from countries like India are less employed as they have joined university in between and it's difficult for them to get jobs. This looks quite impressive as author has tried to find all the aspects of part time employment and the involvement of students in it. The best part of the research is when author has tried to gain the response of students, in order to find out what they feel about the relationship of universities with the employment industry. This looks quite original as the direct feelings of students have explained their needs and requirements of working and what they expect from both university and the employer.

In its conclusion, the author has done some good research for finding the reasons behind the students engaging in part time work. However and in spite of criticism done above, this article offers tools for universities and industry to work in order to help students in managing both studies and work together.

Self Evaluation

After reading the above article carefully I found that it was not very hard for me to understand it. But being an overseas student, this kind of research is new for me and it's quite confusing too. In the beginning I had some difficulties to do the work I was asked for.

I found this article very interesting as I am a student who is willing to work too. It has also helped me in understanding some aspects of working and studying at the same time. Being an international student, it helped me to understand this article more clearly, as I am also facing some of the similar problems mentioned in the subject.

I was bit worried about the language and the format used as this is my first assignment. Doing this assignment was a different experience for me but still it has taught me, how to have an impartial view on particular subject. I believe that understanding this article was bit easier then explaining it.

I tried to manage my time carefully to complete this project. The article was not very difficult, but explaining in own words was not that simple too. This was something new for me and I tried to give my best.

I think, I need to work more upon my reading and writing skills to do better in the coming assignments.