Lesson 1: Theories and Research in Sexuality
The study of human sexuality is diverse. The topic is approached and investigated by many disciplines and fields, including psychology, sociology, biology, and anthropology, among others. Likewise, different methods are used to study sexuality. It is as important to understand these different research methods and theoretical perspectives as it is to know about the historical figures who have contributed to and shaped the study of sexuality.
After completing this lesson, you should be able to accomplish the following:
- Explain how theories guide research and knowledge.
- Describe Sigmund Freud's theory of personality development.
- Identify key factors of behavioral theory, social learning theory, biological theory, evolutionary theory, sociological theory, and feminist theory.
- Identify key figures in the history of sexuality research.
- Distinguish between reliability, validity, and generalizability and know the contribution of each to a research study.
- Distinguish between the different methods used to research sexuality.
Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity
- Chapter 2, "Understanding Human Sexuality: Theory and Research" (pages 28–58)
Writing Assignment (50 points)
When you can accomplish the learning objectives for this lesson, you should begin work on the writing assignment described below. You may use any assigned readings, your notes, and other course-related materials to complete this assignment.
You may also want to visit "MU Library's Writing and Citing: Paper Assistance website. This resource contains information on creating APA-style citations and guides for writing several different types of papers including the kinds you will be writing for this course. You may also want to visit Purdue's OWL website for more information on APA guidelines.
This lesson has discussed some important considerations in sexuality research. Imagine that you were given the opportunity to be involved in a research project about any topic of your choosing in the field of sexuality. What would you want to study? How would you design your study? How would you make your study effective? Your answer should be a 2–4 page (double-spaced, 12-point font) essay response. Be sure that your essay is easy to read with minimal grammar and punctuation errors. Also be sure to use correct terminology as presented in the textbook and commentary. Please incorporate all of the following points when constructing your essay:
- How would you word your research question(s)?
- Which perspective (behaviorism, social learning, evolutionary, etc.) would you employ and why?
- Would your study be experimental, correlational, or descriptive? Justify your choice. What features of your research project would allow it to fit with your chosen methodology?
- Would you want to do survey, observational, or case study research? Provide details about how you would conduct your study in your chosen manner. If applicable, would your study be longitudinal or cross-sectional? Justify your decisions.
- Who would you try to recruit for your study and why? How would this affect the generalizability of your study?
- Why do you think that your overall research design (considering items 2–5) would be the best way to answer your research question?
- What would some of the difficulties be if you were attempting to do this research in 1940 as opposed to today?
You are about to turn in your first written assignment for this course. Make sure you can answer "yes" to the following questions before you upload your work:
- Is the work my own? Learning is up to you, and the MU community takes academic integrity seriously.
- Did I credit words or ideas to the people who published or shared them on the Web? Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas without crediting or "citing" their work. Students who plagiarize will be penalized depending on their instructor and the situation. Don't be afraid to use sources when you write, just make sure you "give credit where credit is due."
Need help figuring out when you should cite other people's words or ideas? Read about "Avoiding Plagiarism"
from Purdue University or contact Mizzou Online
with questions for your instructor.
Uploads to prepare: 1 (.doc or .rtf format)