Family Theories

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is for students to explore and become familiar with how family theories are used and written about in scholarly articles. Although you learn the basic concepts and applications of each theory from the textbook, immersing yourself in a scholarly article will help you gain a broader perspective on how researchers have applied, modified, and/or critiqued specific aspects of any given theory. Students will select a theory from one of the chapters in the textbook and find a recently published (i.e., within the last 10 years) article which has written about some aspect of the theory somewhere in the article.

Genre: Students should approach this assignment as family scientists attempting to thoroughly review and summarize a scholarly, peer-reviewed article of their choice. Students should use the major headings from the article to guide their summary. In the case of an empirical article, this would be the introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections. In the case of a non-empirical article, such as a theoretical article or literature review, these headings will depend on the structure of the article you select.

Format: Students will summarize their selected article using outline format. This means students should use single-spaced format and use a multi-level list or bullet points to create their summary. Summaries should be at least one page long and should not exceed two pages. Do not include a cover page. At the top of the summary, include the APA formatted reference, including the DOI. Be sure to answer the following questions in your summary:
• What theory or theoretical concepts is/are being tested, examined, or critiqued?
• What purpose, aims, or goals do the authors identify for their article?
• Is the theory or theoretical concept(s) addressed in the discussion/conclusion section? If so, in what way?

Instructions for Finding Articles: Students should use the library website’s databases (e.g., Psychinfo, Academic Search Ultimate, etc.) to identify and retrieve an article that meets the assignment requirements. You may also use GoogleScholar to identify articles, but you may struggle to find full-text versions of articles you find this way. Journals which publish peer-reviewed family science articles are Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Theory and Review, Family Relations, Journal of Family Psychology, Family Process, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal of Family Issues, and Parenting: Science and Practice.

Evaluation: Article summaries will be graded based on the following criteria:
• The APA citation at the top of the summary correctly follows APA 7 guidelines. Examples here:
• The article selected adequately addresses one of the theories from the class.
• The article selected was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal.
• Information included in the summary is accurate.
• Information included is relevant and pertains to the purpose of the article.
• Writing contains no errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, or APA format.

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