How to Write a College Research Paper on Social Learning Theory

Research Paper on Social Learning Theory

Every student in college is required to write an essay on various subjects which add up to their grade. Psychology students are required to write on various theories either coined by classical or contemporary psychologists. In psychology, a thorough approach to such an essay is important, and each student must show their understanding of these theories. This article will feature a sample article on social learning to demonstrate how students should approach questions on psychology theories though it is largely dependent on context.

How to start

While doing research, it’s good to find the best topic. Often, the instructor allows the students to choose their own topics or instructs them to do a specific one. If you have to choose your own topic, ensure that the topic is neither too wide nor too narrow. To come up with the best topic, you can shortlist some topics that are relevant. One of the major problems of scholars is to come up with the topic of research. It is wise and advisable to choose a topic you are interested in first. You can get a suitable topic by brainstorming, asking friends, doing background research on the topic to identify possible gaps in knowledge.

Start the paper by describing the theory and the author who coined it. Ensure the introduction gives an overview of the theory. Contextualize the theory, and the role it plays in understanding human behavior and relate it to other theories is it is relatable. This context helps the reader to understand the theory. The best way to hook your audience is by describing the theory simply and understandably. Towards the end of the introductory paragraph, include a thesis statement which features the purpose of your paper.

Writing body paragraphs

The body paragraphs feature more information on the theory. All the information about the theory, application, criticism among many perspectives from which you can tackle the subject are covered in this section. The length of the paper is dependent on this section, and therefore you must figure out how to ensure the body paragraphs attain the length requirements of the paper. Here are some tips on writing the body paragraphs of the paper.

Tips on body paragraphs composing

  1. Start with a topic sentence which harbors the information covered in the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph has to explicate on the contents of the lead sentence.
  2. Add support sentences to explain your topic sentence. Three to four support sentences are enough. Do not write long sentences and ensure they are hinged on your topic sentence to avoid mixing ideas.
  3. Provide examples where appropriate. Examples help to drive the point home.
  4. Cite any information collected from other sources appropriately. Ensure your sources are credible and you adhere to the format standard outlined in your grading rubric for full marks.
  5. Create a smooth transition to other body paragraphs.

How to finish the paper

Wrap your writing by restating your thesis statement but wording it differently. It is a powerful strategy to tie your work to the purpose your outlined earlier. Recap the main points by summarizing them in the conclusion. This is to remind the reader of the content they have read and what they need to take with them about the theory.

Tips on paper revision

After penning down your paper, you need to ensure it does not have unnecessary mistakes that can reduce your marks. You need to revise your work thoroughly. Follow these guidelines to revise your work:

  1. Reread your work to iron out grammatical mistakes and ensure each sentence communicates its intended message.
  2. You can take a long break from your work before you revise its content. Taking a break helps you to identify more would otherwise unnoticeable mistakes.
  3. You can enlist help from a friend to help you proofread your work.
  4. You can use online editing tools to help you identify possible grammatical mistakes you made in your writing.

Social Learning Theory: Outline sample


  • A brief description of the theory
  • Thesis statement: This theory explains how we learn from social contexts and the relevance of our learned behavior in understanding human psychology.

Body paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence. Principles of social learning theory
  • 3-4 Support sentences

Body paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence. Application of social learning theory
  • 3-4 Support sentences

Body paragraph 3

  • Topic sentence. Criticism
  • 3-4 Support sentences


  • Recap of main points
  • Restatement of the thesis statement

Social Learning Theory: Research paper sample

Social learning theory was fronted by Albert Bandura in 1977 to explain how children learn in social environments by observing and then imitating the behavior of others. This theory is widely said to span the gap between behaviorism and cognitivism. The theory couples the idea of behavior reinforcement with cognitive processes of learning. This theory explains how we learn from social contexts and the relevance of our learned behavior in understanding human psychology.

Social learning theory is centered on four principles. Attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. Attention principle argues that we cannot learn if we are not focused on the task. Retention principle argues that we learn by internalizing information in our brains. Reproduction principle asserts that we reproduce information we previously acquired. Finally, the last principle, motivation argues that we must be motivated to do anything. These are the primary driver of behavior learning from social context.

Social learning can be applied in education since children learn a lot from social contexts. If children see particular behavior which is encouraged by positive consequences, they are likely to repeat it themselves and learn it. If negative consequences emanate from it, they are less likely to indulge in that behavior. This theory also attempts to explain the impact of technology or TV on children because it shows that children do indeed learn from what is aired on the TV and media.

There are some critics of the theory who challenge its applicability in understanding human psychology. According to Jeffrey 1985, the theory disregards the differences of individuals due to genetic, brain, and learning differences. Some other critics have also questioned the objectivity of Bobo Doll experiment which conditioned the children to be aggressive to demonstrate social learning.

Concisely, this theory helps understand the how humans learn especially children. The principles, criticism, and application of this theory have been discussed summarizing the contribution Bandura has added to psychology literature. In a nutshell, this paper has described details of how the theory has added to human psychology through understanding how social contexts influence our learned behavior.

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