Essays

Social Setting Paper for Sociology

Description:

For this assignment you will be required to use your sociological imagination to conduct participant-observation in a social setting and write a paper on what you find. You may choose any setting you like, just keep in mind that you need to be able to analyze it sociologically using the concepts and information from the course. Examples of social settings that you might use could be your home, a class, a coffee shop, a park, or pretty much any place where there is social interaction and other social phenomena to observe. If you have an idea for a setting you’d like to do but aren’t sure it will work, run it by me. Chances are it will be fine.

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I know students always like to know how many pages they are required to write. I’m not going to give you one. Write until you feel like your paper is properly done. That said, I have a hard time imagining that you can do a really good job in much less than ten double-spaced pages, and if you are whipping past fifteen pages with no end in sight, you might want to think about tightening your approach.

You must use course materials in your paper. You may also use outside sources if it makes sense for you to do so, but you are not required to. Either way, you must include citations in your paper and a reference page. I don’t care what citation style you use (MLA, APA, ASA, etc.) but you have to use something.

Requirements

1. Paper needs to read well (5 points).
Your paper should be well-formatted, use standard aspects of writing like paragraphs, use language properly, have appropriate punctuation, and generally convey your ideas through good writing. I am not going to go through your papers and mark every little misstep in grammar in order to take off a point. What I want is for your ideas to come through well, and bad writing interferes with that. You need to make sure your paper is structurally coherent.

The best way to see if your paper is readable is to let other people read it. If your spouse, best-friend, or tutor can’t get around the way you’ve written your paper to understand the ideas in it, chances are I won’t be able to either. Not only will you lose points for structural problems, but you will have a hard time getting full points in other areas of the paper if your writing interferes with what you’re trying to tell me. So, get a draft done and have someone look at it. You’ll do better.

2. Describe your methods (10 points).

In this section you will basically explain to me how you went about choosing your setting, collecting data, and recording data, along with some justification for why you made those decisions. Keep in mind that there are different ways to do a setting analysis like this. For example, you can just sit and observe, you can interact with other people, you can explain to some people that you are doing a paper for a class and ask them questions, or you can do a combination. In this section explain exactly what you did and why. Your book has a methods chapter which should help you with this part of the paper.

3. A description of your setting (10 points).

In order to understand your analysis, I need to know what your setting is like so there needs to be a relatively detailed description included. This should include information about the space you are studying as well as the people in it. Remember that you need to use sociological concepts to interpret this place, so there needs to be an anchor upon which to hang those interpretations. How you integrate the description into your paper is up to you, but I need to be able to see how you are applying sociology to specific aspects of the setting.

4. Sociological analysis (25 points).

Using course material (and appropriate outside material if you choose) you need to apply sociological concepts in order to make sense of your setting from the point of view of your sociological imagination. What that means is you need to make sense of the setting itself and then you need to connect the setting to the wider social world, both using course concepts.

So, for example, one piece of your analysis might describe what types of norms appear to be a part of the setting followed by connections to more general norms in our culture. You’ll also want to take a sentence or two to explain exactly what the concepts you are using are. In this case you might want to quickly define “norms” and “culture”.

The analysis should employ multiple concepts and tie them together in a coherent whole. In order to accomplish this, I would suggest that you analyze your setting through a particular sociological lens. Gender might be one lens. Social groups or deviance might be others. You are certainly welcome to wander, but staying focused on, “the gendered relations of Bob’s amusement park,” or “group dynamics at my awesome place of work,” will keep you from being too scattered and keep your paper making sense.

When you do your analysis make sure to illustrate your concepts with specifics from your setting. Connect your concepts to your description.

Rubric
Social Setting Paper
Social Setting Paper
Criteria    Ratings    Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeIs paper well organized and use English properly?
5.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
5.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMethods:
10.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
10.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSetting Description
10.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
10.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSociological Analysis
25.0 pts
Full Marks
0.0 pts
No Marks
25.0 pts
Total Points: 50.0

 

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