In this assignment you will do some sociological analysis of your own by choosing at least two separate theories (from different authors) from the first part of the class and applying them to analyze a current event, or another recent social phenomenon.

In this assignment you will do some sociological analysis of your own by choosing at least two separate theories (from different authors) from the first part of the class and applying them to analyze a current event, or another recent social phenomenon. You are free to choose what you think will work well and fits your own interests. While the paper is due at the end of week 5, feel free to read ahead and discuss authors and ideas from weeks 6-7 if you wish to.

Begin by describing and documenting the event/experience/phenomenon you will focus on, and then introduce and explain the theories and arguments you will apply to it. Be sure to include relevant citations from news sources or other materials to support your description of the event or phenomenon.

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In this assignment you will do some sociological analysis of your own by choosing at least two separate theories (from different authors) from the first part of the class and applying them to analyze a current event, or another recent social phenomenon.
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The heart of your paper (and the bulk of your grade) will be based on your discussion and application of the theories. Successful papers will make an argument that goes beyond simply re-stating what the author says. You will need to first summarize the theory/argument, and then go on to interpret and apply it to the specific situation, explaining how and why the connection makes sense, and what we can learn from thinking about it from that perspective. You can also identify shortcomings, or areas where the argument or theory doesn’t seem to work well, explaining why this is the case.

Strong papers will conclude with an evaluation that describes what you learned about the theory or argument by applying it to a specific case. Here are some questions you can think about for assessing this: how well does the theory or argument fit the situation and why? Does looking at the situation in light of a particular theory bring any new insights?

Formatting: The paper should be double-spaced and 4-6 pages long, with one inch margins. Be sure to proofread and copy-edit your paper before turning it in. All materials should be cited and referenced correctly. Points may be deducted for sloppy work. Sociologists typically use ASA style but you may use MLA or APA if you wish. (https://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/documents/teaching/pdfs/Quick_Tips_for_ASA_Style.pdf (Links to an external site.))

Tips:

Make an outline before you start writing, that lists the different connections and points you will make in the paper for each theory. Some applications work better than others. If you are struggling to make connections in the outline, consider changing theories/authors.
Not all readings are “theories”. Descriptive readings such as the articles for the first week, the chapters from Edin & Shaefer, Sherman, and Newman & Celano (for example) are not appropriate to use as “theories” for the paper. It is possible, however, to use these as the social phenomenon/current event you will analyze in your paper. If you’re not sure, please ask!
Strive for clarity in your writing and edit and proofread your work before turning it in.
Assignments of this kind are not uncommon in sociology courses. You must turn in original work produced for this assignment—reusing previous work will result in no credit.

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