Help With Writing A Sociology Essays

This document is intended as an additional resource for undergraduate students taking sociology courses at UW. It is not intended to replace instructions from your professors and TAs. In all cases follow course-specific assignment instructions, and consult your TA or professor if you have questions.

  • DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!  You must cite all sources you use—not only for direct quotations, but also for data, for facts that are not common knowledge, and very importantly for ideas that are not your own.  The UW policy on academic honest explains what plagiarism is, but also the consequences for students found to have committed it: http://www.washington.edu/uaa/advising/help/academichonesty.php
  • It is generally expected that you state your argument (usually called a "thesis statement") in the first couple paragraphs (preferably the first). For theory application papers, this would include mention of the theory or argument you are applying and the case or empirical phenomenon to which you are applying it.
  • Introductions and conclusions are important: they are the first and last impression given to your readers. A good introduction summarizes what the author does in the paper, and sets up ("motivates") the analytical problem or question. It is sometimes referred to as a "roadmap" for the paper.  Some writers find it effective to present an interesting or controversial statement or a quote in the introduction to gain the reader's attention. However, you should make certain that the quote or information is actually relevant to your thesis (your main argument)!
  • A good conclusion almost always restates the argument and the evidence brought to bear.  This is not a place to introduce new evidence or make new claims.  However, you might address unresolved issues, why we should care about the topic of the paper, directions for future research, etc.
  • Once you have completed the paper, you should revisit the introduction and conclusion to make sure that they "match" each other, and that they reflect the argument you make in the body of the paper.
  • Most analytical sociology assignments should not rely upon personal anecdotes, experiences, or opinions as "data" to make an argument.  This varies by assignment—for example, some ask you to incorporate personal experiences and opinions.  If you are unsure, check with your instructor or TA.
  • It is considered appropriate to use subject headers in longer analytical papers, as it helps guide the reader and organize your argument.
  • Unless you are instructed otherwise, it can be helpful to write analytical papers in first person (using "I statements"): this helps you avoid passive constructions, wordiness, and confusion about voice (who is arguing what).  If your instructor prefers that you avoid the first person in your papers, you can write "This paper argues…" in order to distinguish your voice from that of the authors/theories/articles you discuss.

In order to write a sociology essay, you should have a good concept of sociology. Whether you’ve studied it or just done some research, understanding sociology is essential to creating a quality essay on the topic. Your essay should contain plenty of sources, all reputable, to prove your points.

The study of sociology is a fascinating one and there are many areas you can write about. Choose from one of the sociology essay topics and start doing the research. It takes time to plan a good essay, so give yourself as much time as possible. It’s always best to start on the assignment as quickly as possible so you have time to do a good job on it.

Sociology Essay Introduction

The pre-writing phase of creating an essay involves doing a lot of research. Check out the various sociological theories out there and choose a theme for your essay. You should collect information for the essay from sources that are trustworthy and create an outline for your paper.

An outline can be very useful in helping you format your essay and keep it all organized. The best papers are orderly and flow well, thanks to being organized before being written. Once you’re done this part, you can begin the essay by writing an introduction paragraph.

The first paragraph in the essay needs to state the point of the entire paper. This is your thesis statement and it will be the foundation for the rest of the work. Once you have this down, let the reader know what to expect from your essay and then begin to write it.

Sociology Essay Technique

The body of your sociology essay should cover all the claims that support your thesis statement from the first paragraph. Each paragraph will have its own mini-thesis statement and then fill out information around that. Use expert quotes and reputable information from valued sources to provide your readers with the facts and to steer them in the right direction.

While an essay may be any length, most are five paragraphs in total, with three paragraphs making up the body, plus the introduction and conclusion. Make those center paragraphs count by filling them with useful information for your readers.

The entire sociology essay should flow easily, with transitions from one paragraph to the next. You have a long list of sociology essay topics to choose from, so be careful to focus on just one. Using the essay will help you stick to the main points. Remember that the entire body is designed to support the thesis statement.

Sociology Essay Conclusion

The end of the sociology essay will go over the main points from the essay and will contain the thesis statement reworded. While it should only be a few sentences long, the conclusion is the most important part of the essay. It gives you one last chance to make your point and to make your essay memorable. Keep this in mind as you write. Check out some sociology essay examples to learn what makes a strong finish.

Finally, you need to proofread the entire sociology essay. It’s very common to make spelling mistakes or mix up your grammar while you’re focused on creating great content. Sometimes, coming back to the essay after a day or two will help you see the mistakes more clearly and allow you to catch any issues with flow, as well. Rewrite any awkward parts so the whole essay is cohesive and understandable. It can be helpful to have someone else read through it, as well, since fresh eyes will catch new mistakes. 

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