1st they prevent our being taken in by flukes (chance occurances) 2nd theories makes sense of observed patterns in ways that can suggest other possibilities 8enables us to take effective action) 3rd theories can shape & direct research efforts, pointing towards likely discoveries thru empirical observation. Not all research seek to explain: description, public"s opinion etc other purposes of research. A theory seeks to explain, a paradigm provide ways of looking. Paradigm = a model for observation & understanding, which shapes what we see & how we understand it. Our views and feelings are the result of the paradigm in which we have been socialized. Soc sci paradigms diff ways of looking at human soc life. Macrotheory =aimed at understanding soc at large, the big picture of institutions, whole societies, and the interactions among societies. Microtheory = aimed at understanding soc life at the intimate level of inds and their interactions.