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cornonthecob
15-08-2012, 09:26
I'm a University student and the one thing above all else that makes me frustrated is theory work.

To me it just seem too dry , far to much unnecessary drivel which only a small percentage of the 'community' honestly needs to care or learn about. I look at a wall of text half of which (to me) seems uttery pointless and my heart sinks. Instead of explaining things (admittedly in a 'simple' way) they only cause more clutter and confuse issues more.

EmperorNorton
15-08-2012, 09:29
I absolutely hate it when theory becomes and end in itself and people use phenomena simply to illustrate their theory instead of using theory to explain phenomena.

Avian
15-08-2012, 09:41
Just wait until you enter the Real World, then you will (almost certainly) find that people tend to ignore theory and go with 1) what they intuitively feel is right, 2) old habits, or 3) both 1 & 2.

Novrain
15-08-2012, 10:03
It does depend on the subject matter.

For example I teach theology - Theory, and an understanding of theory, is essential as it structures and makes sense of practical applications. Without the theory, practice becomes sloppy and reduced in meaning.

HereBeDragons
15-08-2012, 10:28
Theory is essential to science. Otherwise all you have is observation, and that alone cannot explain anything. Likewise, theory alone is useless. I happen to enjoy theory.

However it depends what you're doing. I expect linguistic theory is pretty dull if all you want to do is learn a language.

Hellebore
15-08-2012, 10:37
Just wait until you enter the Real World, then you will (almost certainly) find that people tend to ignore theory and go with 1) what they intuitively feel is right, 2) old habits, or 3) both 1 & 2.

And number 1&2 lead to correlation/causation fallacies and believing in things because you believe in them. While it's silly to look at the world through theory - 'assuming a spherical cow', the opposite is worse as it relies on no evidence based foundation and leads to all sorts of bizarre rituals and solutions to things.

Hellebore

x-esiv-4c
15-08-2012, 11:02
Yes, it's always best to ignore the constraints of theory when designing pressure vessels...

blackcherry
15-08-2012, 11:41
I find that though it does seem dull, getting it lodged in the brain means that later on when it comes to the doing, theory will help inform and guide your actions if you are doing something you have little experience at.

Behind some really basic seeming things an incredible amount of theory is involved and by knowing that theory, it can help you see things in different ways and build upon that to achieve greater things. Especially so if you are passionate about the subject in question. It also allows you to retain a more holistic view of things instead of just keeping your knowledge to a narrow field.

Godzooky
15-08-2012, 12:01
In theory I don't have a problem with it.

Easy E
15-08-2012, 13:55
I love Theory, but also like taking the ideas presented in theory and putting them into practice in the real world.

I have found my ability to research and understand theory and then apply it has really helped me stand out from my business peers and be successful.

ColShaw
15-08-2012, 14:40
I think it depends on the subject. In hard sciences, theory is what saves costly mistakes.

I was an English major, however, and in my college courseload was "Methods of Interpretation", a 200-level class on literary theory and criticism.

This was the by-golly worst experience of my English curriculum. You have never seen such a collection of pretentious, dull drivel written be people who could never write great works of literature themselves, but were instead content to think they could pigeonhole such works into their own narrow critical theories. "New Criticism", psychoanalytic criticism, postmodern criticism... it was a terrible experience.

It was also probably pretty useful to me both as a reader and as a writer. But that didn't make it fun or interesting.

Freak Ona Leash
15-08-2012, 15:22
I think it depends on the subject. In hard sciences, theory is what saves costly mistakes.

I was an English major, however, and in my college courseload was "Methods of Interpretation", a 200-level class on literary theory and criticism.

This was the by-golly worst experience of my English curriculum. You have never seen such a collection of pretentious, dull drivel written be people who could never write great works of literature themselves, but were instead content to think they could pigeonhole such works into their own narrow critical theories. "New Criticism", psychoanalytic criticism, postmodern criticism... it was a terrible experience.

It was also probably pretty useful to me both as a reader and as a writer. But that didn't make it fun or interesting.

I just took that same class, though at my college its simply called "Literary Analysis." Undoubtedly a useful course, as you stated, if only because in my further academic work I will require knowledge of these various critical theories, as much of the academia I'm interested still relies and references these various theories to some degree. Unfortunately, the incredible amount of pretension and stodgy conservatism found within many critical theories makes the prospect of learning about them unappealing on a level usually reserved for the viewing of modern political debate ;) I actually enjoyed learning about Deconstruction theory and Derrida's ideas around language and the interpretation thereof though.

Malorian
15-08-2012, 15:23
Theory used to generate more theory is what bothers me.

ColShaw
15-08-2012, 16:21
I just took that same class, though at my college its simply called "Literary Analysis." Undoubtedly a useful course, as you stated, if only because in my further academic work I will require knowledge of these various critical theories, as much of the academia I'm interested still relies and references these various theories to some degree. Unfortunately, the incredible amount of pretension and stodgy conservatism found within many critical theories makes the prospect of learning about them unappealing on a level usually reserved for the viewing of modern political debate ;) I actually enjoyed learning about Deconstruction theory and Derrida's ideas around language and the interpretation thereof though.

Ah, good old Derrida... I remember Derrida...

Freak Ona Leash
15-08-2012, 18:43
Ah, good old Derrida... I remember Derrida...

Or do you only remember the chain of linguistic symbols you associate with Derrida? :shifty:

Sojourner
15-08-2012, 19:43
Quite the opposite. What I hate is going ahead and doing something without knowing why, and the people who prefer to do that instead of working on a solid foundation of understanding.

x-esiv-4c
15-08-2012, 20:49
Quite the opposite. What I hate is going ahead and doing something without knowing why, and the people who prefer to do that instead of working on a solid foundation of understanding.

Working in the prototype field, I see this a lot. You often get project managers wanting to jump into a program without understanding what they are meant to do or the requirements. They end up assembling a team of half-wits with little understanding of the subject and end up with angry customers.

machine_recovered_meat
15-08-2012, 21:11
You often get project managers wanting to jump into a program without understanding what they are meant to do or the requirements. They end up assembling a team of half-wits with little understanding of the subject and end up with angry customers.

This appears to be how many things in the world operate. It is a pity.

x-esiv-4c
15-08-2012, 21:22
I'm starting to think it's a universal constant Machine_recovered_meat.

Shush
16-08-2012, 06:57
I prefer playing music to theory. I don't have lessons anymore but I still play sometimes and don't go and learn more theory.
So I definitely prefer practise to theory!

If I didn't know at least some theory though then I couldn't read the music at all.

If I was building Daleks I'd want to know theory first, otherwise I wouldn't know I'd got it wrong until I was exterminated! :)

Irisado
16-08-2012, 11:05
I prefer playing music to theory. I don't have lessons anymore but I still play sometimes and don't go and learn more theory.
So I definitely prefer practise to theory!

I'll second that.

Theory is my nemesis. I have to use it, but I dislike it, and abstract theory is so lost in its own isolation, that it comes across as nothing more than pretentious waffle. That said, it has to be used to guide research. Without theory, you don't have a research design. It's worth noting, however, that the quantitative/deductive research designs are not the only way to proceed. This is to say that you don't have to come up with your theory first, as your theory can actually be generated by your research.

Verm1s
16-08-2012, 21:46
I did three years of Zoology. I remember cutting up a dead rat, weighing a hundred live, individual freshwater shrimp (every week, in triplicate), groaning at the parasitology lecturer's sadistic slide pictures, and standing out on a wind-blasted mudflat, digging up worms. Theory? Can't remember a thing. Statistical analysis, biochemistry, and genetics? Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.

I'm going to apply to some lab-based jobs tomorrow. Whee.

stormblade
17-08-2012, 00:21
I'm a philologist so I don't do much theory besides literature theory and linguistics, the former is easily forgettable while the latter can be of use occasionally.

So no, I don't think I hate it.

Jo Bennett
17-08-2012, 16:36
I did MSci Theoretical Physics with Mathematics. I'm all about the theory. Practical work always seemed to me, by turns, tedious, messy, and potentially dangerous.

Poseidal
18-08-2012, 08:35
Should not theory and practice be married and never let out of the house without one-another?

Gary wyper
18-08-2012, 08:42
heavens no if they were married they would get along even less with one and other

Sent from my GT-S5830 using Tapatalk 2

Jo Bennett
18-08-2012, 11:51
Should not theory and practice be married and never let out of the house without one-another?

I think they're quite happy to be Just Good Friends.

Artinam
19-08-2012, 10:28
I did international relations, and the theories in this simply provide ways at looking at something and analysing them.
Not taking them as the absolute truth because of their limitations is something your learn day one. It does give a good deal of knowledge and insight in why people do certain things.

Its really interesting to view say the civil war in Syria from a Neo-realist, a neo-liberal and a marxist perpective. It more or less explains in more then one way why the international community isn't intervening.

Irisado
19-08-2012, 11:33
I did international relations, and the theories in this simply provide ways at looking at something and analysing them.
Not taking them as the absolute truth because of their limitations is something your learn day one. It does give a good deal of knowledge and insight in why people do certain things.

Some of these theories are, however, more convincing than others when applied to different strands of international relations. For example, it's very difficult to apply a constructivist theory to explain foreign policy, since realism tends to dominate this particularly aspect of international relations.

That said, I dislike the concept of labelling which comes from theory, as so many of my colleagues like to say that person x is a realist, person y is a constructivist, and so on. Luckily, I'm so rubbish and disinterested in theory that nobody has been able to label me.

CasperTheGhost
19-08-2012, 16:22
I did MSci Theoretical Physics with Mathematics. I'm all about the theory. Practical work always seemed to me, by turns, tedious, messy, and potentially dangerous.

Reminds me of a lab from last year, where we were told if we opened up one of the compounds outside of a fumehood we could kill everyone in the lab. Pfff who says labs are dangerous :p

I mainly dislike theory when it's not place into context, i.e. when we're taught about a mechanism or such but not taught how it can be used in actual synthesis of chemicals. It makes it far more of a pain when it comes to actually using it in the real life setting. But when taught in the context I don't mind it at all.