As you use the search strategies in this section to learn about specific theories, keep these things in mind.
It's helpful to first search for theories in encyclopedias and books to gain a broad understanding of how a theory developed and was used over time. Having this understanding will help you to make sense of the scholarly literature using that theory.
After you discover a potentially relevant theory or theorist, search for it in the Library's encyclopedia and book databases to get an overview of the theory.
Try these search strategies when researching specific theories:
Once you have a general understanding of a theory using encyclopedias and books, consider looking at how the theory has been used in the scholarly literature and in dissertations. Try searching your topic and the theory name or try searching the theory by itself.
Seminal works, also called classic works, are highly influential and groundbreaking studies. They're often where a theory is first mentioned in the literature but can also include other major studies that have built upon that theory. When researching theories, it's important to understand how they developed over time.
Finding the origin of a theory requires exploratory research and learning as much as you can about it by searching and reading widely, and using a variety of library research tools. Keep in mind that the source of a theory may have come from a research article or a published book.