CHL-52306 Where did that come from? Tracing the roots of your theory

Code last year: (SCH-52306)


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper12
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. ARH Fischer
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. LPA Steenbekkers
dr. JAC van Ophem
dr. ir. ARH Fischer
dr. JM Burgos
Examiner(s)prof. dr. EWML de Vet

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

CHL-20806 / MCB-30306 or equivalent


Theories and theoretical approaches relevant to understanding consumers and consumption have emerged across time based on insights from multiple disciplines. In this course, we create awareness among advanced MSc students and PhD candidates that the current theories are based on the synthesis of earlier ideas. We will explore how the roots of current theories in different disciplines, and the development pathway of these theories consisting of synthesis of other theories leads to the oddities, peculiarities and limitation of current theories.  

Students will bring a selected theory or theoretical approach that they consider interesting or relevant for their own future work. By investigating the roots of the theory they will (1) better understand why the current theory is as it is (2) how this theory is embedded in the larger theoretical scope of the social sciences (3) learn to better position and defend their own approach in the larger domain of social sciences.

This is an advanced course which is part of the WASS graduate programme.  It is aimed at PhD students, and students in the MSc programmes MME, MID, MDR and MCH with an interest in research. The course is aimed at deepening the theoretical background of PhD candidates and MSc students, and aims to support the development of solid background knowledge relevant to the theoretical section of their thesis or dissertation.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- for a self-selected theoretical construct compare different approaches and identify to what extent differences can be traced back to different classical theories and authors

- identify, explain, and defend a current theoretical approach and the impact within current theoretical discussions in consumer studies;

- report the findings in a scientific essay / paper and convincingly argue and describe the genealogy of the current theoretical construct.


The course includes two different types of teaching and learning activities:

- two hour coached writing groups on Tuesday in which students, under supervision of a moderator, discuss progress in the analysis and the writing of the individual paper. This can be amended with weekly meetings with an assigned supervisor (by appointment) to discuss progress, search strategies and writing of the paper.

- two hour tutorials on Thursday afternoon in which students and faculty discuss the uncovered relations in the theory and how this relates to current status quo in the field. Nota bene that in these meeting interested faculty that is not supervising students is welcome to participate.

In all learning activities, the lecturing team encourages students to take an active role in order to get most out of it for their personal learning. Students will have to reflect on how a body of literature relating to consumer studies is impacting their research traditions.


Individual paper. A minimum mark of 5.5 is needed to pass.


Scientific papers, books and other materials to be identified during the course.