How to write a sociology research paper: format and structure
Writing in sociology: what to keep in mind.
Sociology studies human social behavior, structure and relations in society and everything that is related to it. The most common specifics you will be writing about is a separate social issue or conflict. The problem of relations can take different angles, for example:
- family (marriage, child-parents relations);
- professional relations of both children and adults (classmates, teacher - student, boss – employee);
- big social organizations;
- subcultures and movements etc.
No matter what your direction is, you will need to form an argument, give evidence and make conclusions. Special structure and formatting will be required from you.
Obligatory requirements for a research paper in sociology.
As a research paper can severely influence your grade on the course, you will not want to lose a single point. It is very important to follow thoroughly all the instructions you received from your professor. The following requirements, typical for a sociology research paper will give you the heads-up on what to expect.
- Minimum length. It differs according to your year of study and university, but exists everywhere. Be sure to check that you have the necessary amount of words or pages. A lot of professors treat this really seriously and may not even accept your completed paper if it is not long enough.
- No plagiarism. This is the general requirement, applied at all the schools and universities. If you copy at least a small part from another source and do not cite it properly, you will get in trouble and can even risk be excluded.
- ASA/AAA reference style. ASA meaning American Sociological Association is the basic requirement for all the papers in sociology. Check the guidelines posted online and follow them to the smallest details given.
- Appropriate and approved topic. Make sure your topic corresponds to the course material. Also, a lot of professors demand approving topic before you start to work on it, so don't forget to do it.
Typical structure for a sociology research paper.
- Stating your problem. Describe what issue you are going to look at.
- Literature review. Research the previous works on your topic.
- Used methods. Explain how you will test your theory.
- Findings. Present the results.
- Discussion. Explain how the findings realty to your theory and prove or refute it.
- Conclusion. Briefly rephrase your paper.
- Reference list. Mention all the materials you used for your paper.