Final Paper – Introductory Sociology

Sociologists talk about the importance of the “sociological imagination.” This is the connection between your own individual life and larger societal

influences. This paper asks you to analyze your life from a sociological perspective. For your paper, you should develop a core issue or theme from

your life that you will focus on using a sociological lens. Here are some suggestions:

– An experience with discrimination you have experienced because of a) race/ethnicity, b) gender (not being masculine or feminine enough), c)

sex (being male or female), d) sexual orientation, e) age (being too young or too old), f) being disabled, g) your religion, h) your social class,

or i) your weight or appearance or j) any other social status not listed

– An experience with education.

– An experience with social media and online communication.

– A discussion about socialization in your life: family, teachers, peers, religious counselors, bosses, coworkers, etc.

– An experience of a loss (relationship, death, job, etc.)

– An explanation of your membership in a group (whether it is formal or informal, i.e. skaters, punks, preps, sports team, fraternity/sorority,

church group, choir, gamers, etc.)

– A description of your experiences at a place of employment.

– A description of traveling someplace and experiencing a different culture.

– A description of a run-in you had with the law or an experience of victimization.

– A discussion about defining family and your family.

– An experience where you believed you were labeled, either good or bad. Did it lead to discrimination? Did you get things you didn’t deserve?

– Something else – talk to me first to make sure it is okay.

 

 

 

HOW TO DO THIS PAPER:

1. Introduce the topic and provide a brief summary on the core issues you are going to talk about. This is your chance to share part of your life

– be descriptive and set up the story. (10 points)

2. Next, analyze your story using sociological concepts. This means you must think about the situation sociologically. You must bring up THREE

sociological concepts for full points. It’s hard for me to tell you what exactly to write about here because it will be up to you based on the topic

you are writing about and how you are framing your experience. (45 points (15 points per sociology issue) )

a. It might be helpful to revisit the chapter where we discussed the topic you are writing about, but here are some general ideas for inserting

sociology. These are merely suggestions:
i. culture (material culture, nonmaterial culture, ethnocentrism, culture relativism), socialization (agents of socialization, resocialization,

total institutions, development of the self), social inequalities – social class, race, gender (prejudice, types of discrimination, impact on life

chances), groups & organizations (social networks, role/status, role conflict & role strain, bureaucracies), Durkheim’s – anomie, Webers’s –

verstehen, Marx’s – alienation, social construction of reality, relativity of deviance, labeling, self-fulfilling prophecy, social institutions

 

Next, you need to have a section about a theory or theoretical perspective (for example – Functionalist, Conflict, Symbolic Interactionist, Rational

Choice, Feminist Theory, Labeling Theory, Differential Association Theory, Strain Theory) that helps you think about the issue or experience. This

means you need to present the theory or perspective and tell me how the ideas are helpful for thinking about the topic. You need at least one

paragraph providing a description of the theory (in your own words). Next, you need to discuss how you would apply this theory to your life

experience. (25 points: 12 points for description of theory & 13 points for how it applies to your topic).

3. Finally, I would like a conclusion summarizing what it means to view your topic from a sociological perspective. If you are discussing a

personal experience – has it made life clearer or more complex? Has it challenged you to see things differently? (10 points)

4. This paper should be typed, double-spaced, with 11-12 point font. It should be at least 4-5 pages in length. Please proof-read your paper for

grammar & spelling mistakes. I will take off a total of 10 points (10% of the grade) for grammar & spelling. Make sure you include at least THREE

course concepts in your paper plus a sociological theory.

You should be able to write this paper using your textbook, lecture notes, and videos from class. Cite the page number and author or lecture and

chapter for course concepts. (Ballantine, Roberts, & Korgen 2018, p. 300) or (Notes Chapter 7) or (Single Story video). I know I show a lot of YouTube

clips in class and if you want to take from one of those, but you do not remember the clip you can just reference it as part of your notes. If you

take from any other sources beyond what is noted above you need the full citation. Please check out the following website for guidelines on citations:
http://www.newark.osu.edu/students/student-life/the-writers-studio/

 

5. Include a reference page at the end of the paper that includes course materials cited, as well as any other sources that you use.

 

** You may find that breaking the paper down into the different sections makes it easier. Feel free to label the different sections if you wish.

** Just a reminder: any type of plagiarism or cheating will result in an F in the class and filing of charges with Academic Misconduct. As noted on

the syllabus, “Please be aware that all papers for this course will be submitted through Carmen with the originality checker activated. This means

your papers are processed through turnit.com which is a site that assesses for plagiarized work. A high percentage does not necessarily mean

plagiarized work depending on the type of paper you are writing. For instance, a literature review might have a relatively high percentage of material

found in other sources because you are summarizing other people’s work. However, a paper you write about your own life experiences should have lower

percentages.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Exemplary

Good

Acceptable

Unacceptable
Introduction – brief description of the project
10% (10 points)

Great! This is an introduction that makes the observer want to read more and includes clear summary of what the paper will be about – adequately

guides the reader so the reader knows what to expect.

9-10 pts.

Good enough. The introduction is present but is not as well written as the “exemplary” introduction. Key areas are addressed but the introduction

isn’t as clear as the “exemplary” paper

7.5-8.5 pts.
Describes the paper and/or issue, but leaves the observer yawning. Provides a mediocre introduction.

 

6-7pts

Nope. Review the instructions.

 

< 5 pts.

Thoughtful sociological analysis: Issue 1 of Sociology
15 % (15 points)

Thoroughly and thoughtfully analyzes the chosen topic. Seems to have an excellent grasp of the sociological concepts used.

 

13.5-15 pts.
Good. You discuss a sociology issue in your paper, but did not do so in as thoroughly as the “exemplary” paper. You may have only mentioned

the concept without expanding on it in a thorough manner.

11.5-13 pts.

 
The requirements were almost completely fulfilled … You did not illustrate critical thinking in regards to your topic and the sociological issue at

hand. Did not show you had a thorough grasp of the topic you mentioned.

9-11 pts.

You are missing the majority of the components for this section.

 

 

< 8.5 pts.

Thoughtful sociological analysis: Issue 2 of Sociology
15% (15 points)

Thoroughly and thoughtfully analyzes the chosen topic. Seems to have an excellent grasp of the sociological concepts used.

 

13.5-15 pts.
Good. You discuss a sociology issue in your paper, but did not do so in as thoroughly as the “exemplary” paper. You may have only mentioned

the concept without expanding on it in a thorough manner.

11.5-13 pts.
The requirements were almost completely fulfilled … You did not illustrate critical thinking in regards to your topic and the sociological

issue at hand. Did not show you had a thorough grasp of the topic you mentioned.
9-11 pts.
You are missing the majority of the components for this section.

 

< 8.5 pts.

Thoughtful sociological analysis: Issue 3 of Sociology
15% (15 points)
Thoroughly and thoughtfully analyzes the chosen topic. Seems to have an excellent grasp of the sociological concepts used.

13.5-15 pts.
Good. You discuss a sociology issue in your paper, but did not do so in as thoroughly as the “exemplary” paper. You may have only mentioned

the concept without expanding on it in a thorough manner..

11.5-13 pts.

 

The requirements were almost completely fulfilled … You did not illustrate critical thinking in regards to your topic and the sociological

issue at hand. Did not show you had a thorough grasp of the topic you mentioned.

9-11pts.
You are missing the majority of the components for this section.

 

< 8.5 pts.

Theory: clear understanding of theory

12% (12 points) Shows you have a clear understanding of the sociological theory. You were able to summarize key ideas of theory and do it in your

words.

11-12 pts.
Provides a definition of the theory (but not in own words).

 

9.5 – 10.5 pts.
Provides a section for theory, but does not put theory in own words and misses some key ideas pertaining to the theory.

7.5 – 9 pts.
Missing major parts of this section.

 

< 7 pts.

 

Theory: application of theory to specified topic.

13% (13 points)

Provides a very thorough application of the theory. Clearly shows you understand sociological theory.

12-13 pts.
9
You provide an application of the theory. However, it is not clear you fully understand all aspects of the theory and how it pertains to your topic.

10-11.5 pts.
OK…theory application attempted, but major parts wrong or missing.

 

7.5-9.5 pts.

Ummmm, not sure. Lacking a discussion of theory.

 

<7 pts.

Conclusion –
Summarizing what you learned. How has this experience affected you? 10% ( 10 points)
Excellent wrap up of paper and discussion of what you took from this experience in a sociological way.

9-10 pts
Good discussion, but not as well done as the “exemplary” paper

7.5-8.5 pts.
Adequate discussion of what you learned, but not earth shattering

6-7pts

Nope. Fails to meet criteria and/or does not convey understanding of the overall task here.

< 5 pts

Overall: Completeness, organization, style, and clarity, correct citations, includes reference page
10% (10 points) Excellent. Well organized and presented, fewer than 2 technical errors.

 

10-9 pts. Good. 3-5 technical errors and/or other omissions.

 

 

7.5-8.5 pts.

Not so much. 6+ technical errors.

 

 

6-7pts
What happened? More than 7 technical errors.

 

 

< 5 pts.

Total

 

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