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The Sociology Student Writer's Manual / Edition 4

The Sociology Student Writer's Manual / Edition 4


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The Sociology Student Writer's Manual / Edition 4

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780131113886
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 10/14/2003
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.98(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

To the Student

To the Instructor

Introduction: Welcome to the Study of Sociology 1

What Is Sociology? 1

Different Kinds of Sociology 2

Some Fundamental Ideas of Sociology 3

A Brief History of Sociology 5

The Rise of American Sociology 8

Major Sociological Perspectives 9

A Final Note 10

Part I A Handbook of Style for Sociology 11

Chapter 1 Writing as Communication 12

1.1 Writing to Learn 12

1.2 The Writing Process 16

1.3 Levels of Academic Writing 36

Chapter 2 Writing Competently 38

2.1 Guidelines for the Competent Writer 38

2.2 Some Rules of Punctuation and Grammar 41

2.3 Spelling 56

Chapter 3 Formats 60

3.1 General Page Format 61

3.2 Title Page 61

3.3 Abstract 62

3.4 Executive Summary 62

3.5 Outline Page 68

3.6 Table of Contents 68

3.7 List of Tables and Figures 68

3.8 Tables 72

3.9 Illustrations and Figures 73

3.10 Text 74

3.11 Headings and Subheadings 74

3.12 References 75

3.13 Appendixes 75

Chapter 4 Citing Sources 77

4.1 Preliminary Considerations 77

4.2 Citing Sources in ASA Format 78

Part II Conducting Research in Sociology 101

Chapter 5 Organizing the Research Process 102

5.1 Gaining Control of the Research Process 102

5.2 Effective Research Methods 104

5.3 Avoiding Plagiarism 110

Chapter 6 Sources of Information 113

6.1 Guides to Sociological Literature 114

6.2 General Periodicals and Newspapers 124

6.3 Academic Journals 126

6.4 Researching Books 127

6.5 U.S. Government Publications 128

Chapter 7 Internet Resources and Distance Learning 131

7.1 Internet Resources for Writing Well 131

7.2 Sociology Resources on the Internet 131

7.3 The Library of Congress and Thomas 132

7.4 AGuide to Distance Learning 133

Chapter 8 Doing Social Research 135

8.1 Thinking Scientifically 135

8.2 The Scientific Method 136

8.3 Common Quantitative Research Designs 141

Part III How to write Different Types of Sociology Papers 143

Chapter 9 Social Issue Papers 144

9.1 Issue Reaction Papers 144

9.2 Social Issue Analysis Papers 151

Chapter 10 Critical Evaluation of Sociological Literature 169

10.1 Book Reviews 169

10.2 Article Critiques 172

10.3 Literature Reviews 179

10.4 Annotated Bibliography 185

Chapter 11 Quantitative Research Papers 192

11.1 Quantitative Research Designs 192

11.2 Survey-Based Quantitative Research Papers 196

Chapter 12 Qualitative Research Papers 225

12.1 What Is Qualitative Research? 225

12.2 Comparing Quantitative and Qualitative Research 226

12.3 Case Studies as Qualitative Research 226

12.4 A Qualitative Case Study Paper 229

Glossary 239

References 251

Index 256



This newly revised, fourth edition of The Sociology Student Writer's Manual is written to help you become a successful student. Successful students, like successful social scientists, are competent writers. As sociology students, we observe social institutions and behavior. We write to record what we observe, to explain what we record, and to defend what we explain. As citizens, we write to take part in making decisions that direct our nation, our community, and our private lives. From the Declaration of Independence to the Emancipation Proclamation, from the United Nations Charter to President Kennedy's Inaugural Address, writing has brought us the freedom we enjoy today.

The Sociology Student Writer's Manual is designed to help you do two things: (1) learn how to research and write in sociology and (2) improve your writing ability. These objectives are addressed in the four major sections of this book. The Introduction explains what sociology is all about. Intended for both first-time and experienced sociology students, it offers a basic historical orientation and a challenging account of current theoretical perspectives in the field.

Part I, A Handbook of Style for Sociology, addresses fundamental concerns of all writers, exploring the reasons we write, describing the writing process itself, and examining those elements of grammar, style, and punctuation that most often cause confusion among writers. It also explains the importance of formatting the research paper properly—the title page, table of contents, and so on—along with citing and referencing sources using the American Sociological Association StyleGuide. A vital concern throughout Part I, and the rest of the book as well, is the three-way interrelationship among writer, topic, and audience. Our discussion of this relationship aims at building your self-confidence as you clarify your goals. Writing is not a magical process beyond the control of most people; it is a series of interconnected skills that any writer can improve with practice, and the end result of this practice is power. Part I of this manual treats the act of writing not as an empty exercise undertaken only to produce a grade, but as a powerful learning tool as well as the primary medium by which sociologists accomplish their goals.

Part II, Conducting Research in Sociology, focuses on the research process. The first chapter in this part, Chapter 5, describes the research process in detail, explaining how you can maintain self-confidence by establishing control over your project and assume the crucial responsibility of every writer to use source material ethically. Chapter 6 lists and describes traditional sources of information for sociology researchers, including libraries, government agencies, and private research organizations that may provide you with information not available in your library. Chapter 7 includes information available on the Internet and World Wide Web specific to sociology. It demonstrates how to find and obtain resources in this burgeoning new territory. It also deals with distance learning as it relates to the Internet. The final chapter in Part II, Chapter 8, explains the role of the scientific method in doing social research.

Part III, How to Write Different Types of Sociology Papers, has a new writing assignment in the fourth edition. It includes a variety of writing exercises that are commonly assigned in sociology classes. Each chapter begins by exploring the purposes and characteristics of the paper covered. Next, the steps for writing a successful paper are spelled out and typical formats provided. Each chapter encourages you to use your imagination and resourcefulness in confronting the paper's requirements. Your professor may give you a specific writing assignment from one of these chapters. If your assignment is not specific, you may want to select an assignment and discuss your selection with your instructor before proceeding.

This manual is designed to help you organize your thoughts and directions in order to write more clearly and accurately. To assist you in becoming a better writer within the discipline, a glossary of terms associated with sociology is included. If you learn to write well, you will be more valuable in whatever line of work you pursue. As you continue to use this manual throughout your college and professional career, we hope your writing skills evolve and aid you in attaining your professional goals and objectives.


How many times have you assigned papers in your sociology classes and found yourself teaching the class how to write the paper—not only content but form and grammar as well? This newly revised, fourth edition of The Sociology Student Writer's Manual may accompany the primary text you assign in any sociology class or may stand on its own. It allows you to assign one of the papers explained in Part III with the understanding that virtually everything the student needs to know-from grammar to sources of information to source citation-is within this book.

In addition to revisions throughout the text, including an updated chapter on the Internet and a new writing assignment on annotated bibliographies, the fourth edition of The Sociology Student Writer's Manual makes assigning papers easier than ever. For example, you might direct your students in courses on introductory sociology or social problems to write an issue reaction paper according to the directions in Chapter 9. Instruct them to follow the guidelines in Part I for formatting, grammar, and source citations, and in Part II for organization of the research process and use of available resources. Most questions a student could ask about the paper are answered in this book, but it also allows you to supplement your assignment with special instructions. Examples are included.

Assigning students to write an issue reaction paper, following the directions in Chapter 9, is an excellent exercise for beginning or advanced students, because reaction papers are exercises in logic and problem solving. Our directions help students do the following:

  1. Select a suitable reaction statement
  2. Clearly define the issue addressed in the statement
  3. Clearly state a position on the issue
  4. Defend the position
  5. Conclude concisely

By using the guidelines in this manual to complete an issue reaction paper—or any of the other assignments that are included—your students learn to define and focus clearly on issues or problems that are germane to their world. They will become more competent problem solvers and develop skills that are important in every profession.

As you know, writing skills are essential to professional success in sociology—or in any other profession. By combining the latest sociology research and writing techniques with a broad spectrum of writing activities-based on a total of over ninety years of experience teaching courses in sociology, criminal justice, political science, and English—we have written this book to assist you in leading students toward success.

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