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What is Sociology?


What is Sociology?

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This hand-out was designed for a sociology class to help develop a "firm understanding of the assumptions and expectations of the discipline." The handout describes:  What is sociology?; Assumptions and conventions; and Typical assignments
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Material Type: Presentation
Technical Format: HTML/Text
Date Added to MERLOT: January 11, 2010
Date Modified in MERLOT: December 19, 2016
Submitter: Cathy Swift


  • Reviewed by members of Editorial board for inclusion in MERLOT.
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    Good quality material; may be reviewed
    avg: 4 rating
  • User review 3.67 average rating
  • User Rating: 3.67 user rating
  • Discussion (3 Comments)
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Primary Audience: College General Ed, College Lower Division, College Upper Division, Graduate School
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Language: English
Cost Involved: no
Source Code Available: unsure
Accessibility Information Available: unsure
Creative Commons: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States


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Discussion for What is Sociology?

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Avatar for Stephanie Medley-Rath
9 weeks ago

Stephanie Medley-Rath (Faculty)

Generally, I like the UNC Writing Center's handouts and have used them previously. My concerns are that the description implies this is about sociology, but in fact it is about writing in sociology. The description needs updated. Also, there are books about writing in sociology and sociology has its own styleguide. These should be listed as resources and to some extent, should be incorporated into the handout. 

Time spent reviewing site: 15 minutes
Used in course

Avatar for Rosemary Powers
3 years ago

Rosemary Powers (Faculty)

I have not used this yet with students, but I will be doing so as it offers useful resources for thinking about and writing expository papers for sociology.

Technical Remarks:

This resource is clearly written, with good examples of the various ideas presented.  While it does not presume prior sociological knowledge, it will be of most use to students with some background in sociology who may be familiar with the ideas (e.g. "unit of analysis", quantitative/qualitative research, "ecological fallacy") but need reminders of fundamental points to consider and pitfalls to avoid in producing a piece of sociological writing.  An instructor could use this resource with introductory students by revising it to focus on fewer issues or walking through it with them  with reference to a specific assignment (and providing more specific examples with opportunities to practice).  Since there is so much text (and thus may be difficult to hold attention, especially for a student anxious about how to tackle a research assignment),  an alternative to the pdf might be to provide the on-line source using a more outlined approach to the various sections with links to specifics and additional exaamples.  

Time spent reviewing site: 25 minutes

Avatar for Lynn Ritchey
6 years ago

Lynn Ritchey (Faculty)

This site provides some good advice on writing sociological papers for students.  I think this site provides good advice for students above the mechanics of writing sociological papers.  This would be a good additional resource for students trying to write sociologically.  I think this would be good for students at all levels.

Time spent reviewing site: 15 minutes