SOC 321- Final Paper Assignment Description
The final paper for this course is a theoretical application exercise. The objective of this assignment is for students to demonstrate their comprehension of theory, both in absolute and comparative terms, and their ability to apply theory to real-world phenomena. Specifically, you will illustrate how two to three of the theories that we have covered in this course can be used to explain a particular social phenomenon. For example, you might choose low wages in the fast food industry as a topic, and discuss how one or more theories can help society better understand this issue. In this case, you might logically use Karl Marx’s ideas on exploitation of workers under capitalism to show how wages are kept low to increase capitalist profits. However, you also will discuss how other theories, such as Weber’s ideas on rationalization, can help explain the issue differently. Please consider and adhere to the following guidelines while working on this assignment:
This assignment should include these sections (recommended section length in parentheses):
o Introduction: give an overview of your topic, thesis, and the structure of the paper (1 paragraph).
o Context: use scholarly sources to provide a basic summary of your topic, particularly its social significance and scope (2-3 paragraphs).
o Theory application: discuss how the theories you have chosen help to explain your topic. Make sure to compare and contrast the insights each theory generates (4-6 paragraphs).
o Conclusion: summarize the paper and demonstrate how the various ideas you have expressed relate to each other (1 paragraph).
You must dedicate a substantial portion of the paper to discussing the application of your chosen theory or theories. Do not dedicate the majority of the paper to mere summary.
Be sure to explain the ideas that you are discussing. Don’t just nominally invoke theories. For example, don’t merely refer to alienation; explain what Marx means by alienation.
Make sure your topic is not too broad or too narrow. For instance, ‘gender’ is too broad. However, ‘gender relations among UH Manoa sociology students’ would be too narrow. If you would like feedback on your topic idea, please use the discussion forum to post your prospective topic or email the instructor.
Make sure to address the social significance of your topic. Essentially, you want to discuss why this is a topic of sociological relevance and why it is important to society.
You should use the textbook and primary readings from the course as your main sources. You may also use journalistic sources, such as newspaper articles. However, in addition to those, you must use at least two scholarly sources, meaning journal articles, scholarly books, and research reports as the main resources for discussing your topic.
There is no minimum page length for this assignment, but 6-10 pages is the recommended length.
Choosing more theories to discuss is not necessarily better. Discussing two theories carefully is better than discussing three or four theories poorly or superficially.
This is a formal writing assignment. Make sure to use formal writing conventions (citations, references, etc.). Any assignments without proper citations will receive an automatic F.