writing assignments

Types of Writing Assignments in Sociology Classes

Critical Review

An effective critical review of sociological work summarizes, looks for patterns and connections, and analyzes what other sociologists have written on a given topic. This requires thorough research and understanding of said topic on the part of the critical reviewer.

Application of Theory

A sociological assignment to apply or test a theory looks for unambiguous understanding of the sociological concept hand, an appropriate case study or example with which to “test” the theory, and responding analysis that digs deep.

Research Paper

Sociological research papers often begin with critical reviews of sociological literature in order to frame the research question at hand. A research paper in the field of sociology will typically include the following elements:

  • The research question itself
  • Statement of why the research question is important
  • Literature/Critical review of relevant sociological work
  • Description of data selected for analysis
  • Discussion of the methods used in analyzing data
  • Analysis of results
  • Discussion of analysis significance, including general conclusions
  • Bibliography of works cited

Citation Style

Though the expectations for individual assignment may vary, assignments for introductory sociology classes often utilize APA style, the citation format used for disciplines in many of the social sciences. For upper level classes, sometimes ASA style, the citation format used by the American Sociological Society, will be required.