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How to Theorize: A two-day workshop on creative theory generation and critical thinking, 2021-2022


Semester 2, 2021-2022

Type of course

Theory-oriented Workshops


June 16 and June 17, 2022


Universiteit Groningen


2 days

Maximum number of participants



1 EC will be appointed for participation in the complete course


Martijn van Zomeren (RUG)

Research master and PhD curricula typically focus on teaching students how to do research, but fail to include training on how to theorize. However, the latter is absolutely pivotal because theorizing is essential to interpreting any research finding. Specifically, being trained in creative theory generation and critical thinking will make one’s research designs stronger and the resulting findings more meaningful. This two-day workshop addresses the question of how to theorize through a focused, creative, and interactive approach. Its main message is that, much like doing research, theorizing is something that is fun, interactive, and inherently social. As such it can be learned through exercise and training. In the workshop, we will focus, for instance, on using helpful heuristics to creatively generate hypotheses (McGuire’s heuristics); on ‘critical thinking’ that revolves around identifying and playing around with meta-theoretical assumptions (Slife, Gergen); and on introspectively and collectively defining core concepts in the social sciences (Socratic Dialogue technique). Through this hands-on approach, this workshop should not just lead to more knowledge and understanding of how to theorize, but also to a more creative and critical consideration of one’s own assumptions as a researcher.