Tips on writing a sociology essay

Tips on writing a sociology essay

This encourages the development of ability to present arguments cogently, especially where the writer disagrees with them, to compare and contrast them, and to arrive at a conclusion, based on argument and evidence, that is still aware of all that remains undecided. The stages that should be followed in the writing of a Sociology essay are as follows: 1. Read and study the question set This is the most obvious and neglected stage. If the question is vague, then you should state exactly what you understand it to mean, and write your essay accordingly. Consider the key words and ideas in the title. . Assemble the relevant material Essays normally require detailed references. You must realize that Sociology essays cannot be answered from a single textbook. Later read through the material and sift out the points relevant to a particular question. As relevant material is found, it should be noted on paper or better still, on cards or small piece of scrap paper. 3. Organizes the material: and produce an essay-plan The points assembled can now be shuttled about to produce a logical sequence that is the essay plan. There will probably be too much material at this stage, and pruning is needed.

Is the material relevant? No? Then discard it. Yes? Ask! Is it essential? Yes? Include it. No? Keep It in reserve in case there is a chance to slip it in somewhere. An essay plan can usually be organized around the familiar framework of Introduction/ Discussion/Development/illustration and conclusion. INTRODUCTION Explain what you think the essay title is all about, how you are going to tackle it, and what are the key points that you plan to make. Explain or define any technical terms in the title or those intended. DISCUSSION Make and develop the points that you have said you are going to cover.

Com- pare and contrast different views and theories, and link them into an argument. Develop a thread to your discussion. CONCLUSION Do not just give a summary of what you have already said. Rather, show how the arguments and evidence that you have cited tend to lead towards a particular conclusion, or that no conclusion is possible and further research is needed. If you have an opinion, give it, but only if you can show that it is reasonable in the light of what you have previously said. The conclusion should tie up the main thread of your argument. 4. Write the first draft of the essay, following your plan. 5. Check the first draft! I) does any lack of clarity conceal confusion on your part? (ii) dogmatic, eased or opinionated statements, words or phrases; expunge from the draft. (iii) statements of fact that are unsupported by evidence. Provide the evidence or cut them out. (iv) Jargon! Use technical terms when they can be used with precision and accuracy, and when they positively help in the presentation of the argument. 6. Write the final draft This is mainly a matter of copying out. 7. Dada bibliography Give the author’s name, the title, the page, reference and publisher. Adapted from Handbook of sociology Teachers WEB (1982) corn & McNeil.

The following is offered as an approach to writing a Sociology essay. The material is not complete as it is meant to be a guide. Is a science of society possible? This question marks the turning point of Sociology where it moves from a subject of social philosophy to becoming a discipline and science in its own right. Before we attempt to answer the above question we must first define the term ‘science’. The definition given by most scientists would probably be that science is the description and explanation of objective reality. For most scientists, science is the best kind of knowledge we know.

The above definition reflects the realist stance that there is objective reality that exists independently of what our own personal opinions might be. Two key terms emerge here, ‘objectivity’ and ‘autonomy. ‘ Science explores a discoverable external reality that exists on its own terms. It can’t be understood on the basis of subjective interpretation because reality exists solely on the basis of how the world is, not whatnot and I think it to be. The literature on the Nature of Science is fairly expansive; however a general consensus as to what constitute science can be modeled from the various traditions.

Most writers agree that science comprises the following! (I) Theory It is generally accepted that a science must incorporate abstract and general ideas about the phenomena that it studies and seeks to apply these notions to a wide range of cases. A theory therefore provides the analytical framework for phenomena that we wish to make sense of. (ii) A science seeks to establish not simply theories but even laws. A law is not a guideline for action as is commonly meant, but rather a fixed set of expectations given certain circumstances. (O.

Taylor KIWI) (iii) Science must be empirical and to be empirical the following are necessary: It must be based on direct observation using any of the recognized senses; and secondly, the data and conclusions must be subject to scrutiny and thus be validated or supported or challenged or rejected. (iv) It must be objective. This means that the observer must have such a level of detachment that he or she nullifies the effect of his or her own interest and biases. Objective means that the observer has developed the capacity to observe phenomena even if he or she is part of it and recognize and report on these phenomena for what they are. V) Science is value neutral (arguable). Neutrality is the hallmark of science in that the searcher does not attempt to modify the subject matter that is being studied in order to fit her/his own notions. Can one be objective and bias? It is possible to be objective and prejudice. Objectivity is an attitude, neutrality is a behavior. Objectivity takes place in the mind, an approach, you see things for what they are. (vi) Most literature that science is cumulative. This implies that the knowledge of the previous generations is handed down and is collected and used by the present generation and such is the case for the future.

Science progresses when a new set of notions, ideas, data, inclusions and approaches challenge the pre-existing ones. For T. Khan science does not evolve smoothly and it is not entirely based on ‘Revolutions’. In his view from time to time some new knowledge arises which challenges the pre-existing accepted “truths”. From Khan we learn two important concepts, “exemplars” and “paradigms,” each relate to the other. First, there is exemplar, which is as the name suggests the best known or accepted case Of phenomena. However, when new evidence arises the pre-existing ideas we have are replaced and a paradigm shift occurs.

With the paradigm shift a new exemplar arises and remain as the accepted truth until even newer evidence leads to another paradigm shift. Sociology as a science has a number of difficulties, some of which are peculiar to it. First of all it is a science in which the researcher is both subject and object. The very nature of social phenomena makes the researcher one with his subject matter. As a result, it is much more difficult to extricate one’s self from the problems and biases of one’s own interest or milieu. (Environment surroundings) It must be noted however that this characteristic is not unique to the social sciences.

The illogical sciences also require the researcher to be part of the physical/ physiological phenomenon he or she studies. However, the most problematic aspect of Sociology is the fact that much of its subject matter is additional. Social phenomena exist only in so far as they are conceived Of as such and then observed based on those models of conceptions. The very concept of ‘society’ is itself an additional construct. Within the discipline there are at least two polar traditions. A macro perspective that accepts that there are some things based on a number of human beings engaged in an interactive relationship.

This pattern of interaction is larger than individuals and thus operates as group, community or society. Nevertheless, this macro approach can also exist as a globalize approach. It may be, and is sometimes argued, that social relations go beyond geographical boundaries. Thus the concept of a geographical specific society is not a workable one. On the other hand, there is the micro-integrations approach, which focuses on individuals rather than groups. From the micro perspective there is no society in the Dramamine sense but rather a set of loosely accumulated common symbols and signals for navigating the social landscape.

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