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How to Write a Sociology Paper: Study Guide

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An example of quantitative data could be: The other type of data you need is qualitative. This research is less concrete, and is based on sources such as interviews and the researcher's own impressions. An example of qualitative data is: In a sociology course, you will be asked to read a lot of information.

It's helpful to have a system to make sure that you can read the material quickly, while retaining the important points. As you read the sources for your paper, make sure you are reading for specific information. Look for examples that relate to your thesis, and make note of them. Not only will this make it easier to find that specific information later, but the act of highlighting itself will help embed the information into your brain.

Don't be afraid to skim over parts of books or articles that either do not relate to your paper topic or are not helpful. You want your notes to be detailed, but not so lengthy that they are not easy to skim. Just note the most important piece of information, with a reminder of where you found that information.

You can go back and expand later, but when you are taking notes, it is important to be efficient. Remember that sociology is largely about concepts.

For example, you might need to explain the relationship between class and power in contemporary society. Therefore, your notes will be different from your chemistry notes, since you are memorizing ideas, not formulas or methods. In your notes, make sure that you have been thorough enough that you will understand the concept when you review your notes. When you have completed your research, make sure you have it organized in a way that will help you to write efficiently.

As you sit down to write, make sure that you have all of your books, printouts, and notes nearby. This is also a great time to make sure you have anything else you need--computer, pencils, and the assignment guidelines. Prepare your work area. Make sure that you have plenty of room to work. You might need to spread out your materials in order to be able to view multiple documents at once. You'll also want to make sure that you have a chair with good back support, and that the room is a comfortable temperature for you.

Some people work well with music playing, while others work best in total silence. Figure out the right atmosphere for you. The thesis, or argument, is the most important part of your paper.

It tells your reader exactly what you are writing about, and lets them know the point of your paper. Without a strong thesis, the rest of your paper will be vague and general.

Write your thesis before you structure the rest of your essay. For example, you can start by asking a series of questions. Once you find a good one, turn it into a declarative statement.

Another method is to use "free association". Write down all of the terms that come to mind when you think of your topic. An idea for a thesis might jump out at you. Your thesis must have two key parts: This means that your argument is not a basic statement of facts, but that it is open for critical debate.

Second, your thesis must be tightly focused enough that it can be clearly supported with evidence. Your thesis statement could be something like this: There are actually much fewer biological differences between men and women than previously thought; the divide between the sexes has actually been created by society.

After you construct your thesis, outline the rest of your paper. An outline is key for creating an organized and structured essay. Ask a student what is the most difficult task for him and every student will answer the same: No doubt it is true. Writing is not an easy task, you need words and ideas, you need to put them into flawless sentences and link each paragraph, reach to a conclusion slowly and smoothly and everything needs to be in a perfect sequence.

This is not it. So, all this and you have what…around a week or a few days to complete your paper? Now this is truly unfair, but to students only. In this tough world, the standards are raised high and you need to compete to win the race. A sloppily written, uncorrected paper sends a message that the writer does not care about his or her work. If the writer does not care about the paper, why should the reader? Such rules may seem demanding and constricting, but they provide the liberation of self discipline.

By choosing a topic, doing the research, and writing the paper you take control over a vital part of your own education. What you learn in the process, if you do it conscientiously, is far greater that what shows up in the paper or what is reflected in the grade.

Empirical papers report some original research. It may be based on participant observation, on secondary analysis of social surveys, or some other source. The outline below presents a general form that most articles published in sociology journals follow. You should get specific instructions from professors who assign empirical research papers.

Introduction and statement of the research question. Review of previous research and theory. Description of data collection including sample characteristics and the reliability and validity of techniques employed. Presentation of the results of data analysis including explicit reference to the implications the data have for the research question.

Conclusion which ties the loose ends of the analysis back to the research question. End notes if any. References cited in the paper. Tables and displays of quantitative information should follow the rules set down by Tufte in the work listed below.

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