How to Write a Sociology Essay
Sociology is an academic discipline which deals with social processes. Its main goal is to understand and explain the relations within a given society, some principles of development of societies, as well as to clarify individual-society relations. Sociology proves not to be a science in the strict sense, as it cannot estimate social processes and actions. Despite that, specialists in sociology have comprehensive knowledge about occurrences which no one else could notice or observe. You probably think that the work of a sociologist consists of making predictions about the next presidential elections or something like that, don’t you? This is completely wrong; the real work done by sociologists can be observed only from close range, and not on the TV shows.
Writing a sociology essay requires general knowledge in the field of sociology, as well as knowledge on a particular topic. In contrast with sociological research, for instance, an essay should be more “flexible” and more abstract. Remember that such an essay allows for more generalizations and analysis of a given theory or idea, whereas a piece of research needs careful elaboration and hard work.
In the following paragraphs you can find some useful tips on how to write a sociology essay. Use them only as a guide through the process of writing, and not as absolute authority.
How to write a sociology essay – 7 essential tips
1. Understand a sociology essay topic
Sociology is primarily an understanding of a definite process. Hence, you should not merely write a report or present information. A sociology essay topic could be as follows: “Social factors of aggression”, “Society and community”, “Inclusion and exclusion”; other topics may be focused on a given theory.
2. Introduce the topic in a general manner
This is the context of the problem. Why is this topic a problem at all? Why is it so important?
3. Set forth your theoretical framework
This is the interpretation which will help you find the solution to the problem. In order to do this, you should gather some useful information about one, two, or several influential theorists; for instance: M. Weber, E. Durkheim, N. Luhmann, N. Elias, Z. Baumann, and so on. Read some of their articles or books on the topic in question. Why do you need to refer to these authorities? Well, because you are writing a college essay and you have to follow the regulations and academic standards.
4. Use quotations, but only moderately
You need no more than four of five quotes from the aforementioned sociologists (or other). These quotes have to be related to the particular idea analyzed by you. In most cases, they serve as arguments which justify your thesis, or at least make it seem more justified.
5. Follow your train of thought very strictly
Do not allow yourself to go astray from the topic. We advise you to divide the sociology paper into paragraphs corresponding to the thesis, counter-thesis (if there is such), and the arguments. Thus, it will be easier for you to write, and also for the reader to follow your thoughts in the essay.
6. Be pluralistic while writing
This means, do not analyze the topic only from one point of view, and do not employ only arguments in favor of your thesis. It is always better to also present another standpoint and to put at least one of your arguments in doubt.
7. Attach a list of titles that you have used while writing
Some college students refer to only two, three or four titles, which is not enough for an academic essay. Of course, you also need to employ an academic style for citations, and the most appropriate would be the Chicago style.
Do not forget to revise your essay. Make sure to check its logical structure, formulation of the thesis and relevance of the arguments, and last but not least, ensure grammar and spelling are fluent. Pay heed to every small detail.
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