The Sociology 201 writing assignment will give you the opportunity to place into practice the concepts and techniques discussed in the classroom lectures. The assignment is designed to, as much as possible, emulate tasks required of professional sociologists. In the writing assignment, you will be asked to discuss social issues from a sociological perspective. It is anticipated that through this assignment you will gain experience in understanding sociology from a broad perspective.
Instructions for Short Writing Assignments
Select a social problem/issue from the reading you are interested in writing about. The topic you select can address either a general (e.g., “poverty”) or specific (e.g., “homelessness among women”) topic.
Find 2-4 articles from a social science journal. These articles should be ones not included in the course materials. Your paper should be written in APA format.
Write a brief review of each of the four articles. For the articles in social science journals you need only read the abstract, introduction, and conclusions/discussion.
Select one of the sociological perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism. Interpret the social problem/issue from this perspective. Your interpretation should reflect what you have learned from your readings so far in the class. Be specific in your interpretation about what you learned from each reading. Also, be specific about which sociological perspective you are using in your paper (e.g., “I will use the Structure-Functional perspective to explain….”).
Suggest a social policy to mitigate the negative consequences of the social problem.
You do not need to attach copies of your four articles to your papers. Be certain, however, to provide full citations to them.
The paper should be 4-5 pages in length (see:Writing Instructions (Links to an external site.)).
Students are not allowed to share work with one another. Each paper should be unique.
For the Writing Assignment, you are asked to select a social issue you would like to know more about. You may choose any social issue we have discussed so far this semester.
You are then asked to search for scholarly (i.e., peer reviewed, empirically based) articles to investigate different sociological issues, such as poverty, deviance, religion, family, education, etc. Please keep in mind that newspapers, Newsweek style magazines, or informational web pages such as Web MD or About.com are not considered scholarly. If you are unsure if an article is scholarly, please review the information found on the following web page, and/or ask me:
http://guides.library.cornell.edu/c.php?g=31867&p=201759 (Links to an external site.)
Use your critical thinking skills to examine the effectiveness of the information presented in the research. It is up to you to compare the different findings in the literature. In other words, you want to make sure you are comparing 2 to 4 research articles.
In research articles, the authors will generally talk about the theory or theories in which their studies are based. For the information in the articles you find, pay attention to what the authors are saying about the theories which provide the backdrop for the topic.
The final product should be a high quality, 4 to 5 pages minimum, not including the title, or reference pages. The paper must be typed, doubled-spaced (Times New Roman, 12-point font, one inch margins), and properly documented with section headings, in text citations, and references, using the APA style. The paper will be evaluated on organization, critical thinking, clarity of presentation, and the use of APA style.