How to Write a Sociology Assignment -Explained With Example

What is a sociology assignment?

A sociology assignment is a task to find out the answer to unknown questions in society. It contributes to understanding, analyze as well to comparing, and contrasting the past, present as well as future. It helps the readers to understand society and its institutions.

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As a university student, the most critical skill to learn is how to write an assignment. More than half of a student’s life goes into writing and submitting assignments. Without learning this skill, one cannot simply graduate from a university. However, we call this a skill because it has to be cultivated and learned. Therefore, to write a sociology assignment, one must learn specific skills. It is not simply writing an essay; it takes a deeper understanding and hard work to write an academic assignment. Today in this article, we will discuss how you can write a sociology assignment and ace it! 

The article will be divided into the following sections:

  1. Understanding the Question asked 
  2. Selecting the resources to add to the assignment 
  3. Planning 
  4. Writing 
  5. Reviewing 

To make this article more understandable, we will take a running example. Through the help of the example, we hope to provide an A to Z guidance about writing a sociology assignment. 

Understanding the Sociology Assignment Question 

The first and essential part of any assignment is to make sure that you understand the question well. Students very often lose out on marks because they fail to understand the question asked. Understanding the question in the beginning itself leaves almost no margin for silly mistakes. 

For example

The assignment given by the teacher asks you to review the following work: The viewer society. Michel Foucault’s ‘Panopticon’ revisited”, written by Thomas Mathiesen 

This question is pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy. The one thing you can always count on in sociology is to offer simple questions with critical answers. For the question asked above, what needs to be done is to read the mentioned article critically and then reflect on it. 

from the choices offered and read it in such a manner that you can answer all the sub-questions asked. 

Selecting the Resources 

Once you’ve understood the question, the next step is to search for resources. Your resources cannot be vague. They have to be directly related to the question that has been asked to you. Two conditions can emerge when it comes to resource research. The first condition can be that you have the exact material needed to complete the assignment. The second condition can be when you have been given a question and now have to gather material yourself. It is the second condition that is more tricky. To accumulate study material, you can refer to the following websites that are tried and tested by numerous students and scholars:

For example: 

In our case, we already know the exact article that needs to be read in order to complete the review or reflexive assignment. 

You will read the article thoroughly and in its entirety. Since the professor has asked for a review of the paper, we will focus on targeted reading. Follow the pointers mentioned below to make the most out of your reading. 

  • While you read the article, underline or highlight the important lines. You can even color-code your highlighting by using different ink colors to distinguish between arguments and examples. 
  • Once you have read the article fully, write down what is the main argument of the text according to you. The main argument is that one recurring question or theme is being discussed throughout the article. 
  • While reading or after reading, make a note of how and why you agree or disagree with the author. It is always recommended to judge an article by evaluating its pros and cons
  • While reading if any new ideas or examples emerge in your mind make sure to make a note of them. This personal contribution adds to the quality of an answer. 

Planning 

At this point, you are now clear with your question, and you have done the necessary reading to draft your assignment. The next step is to plan your answer. This planning happens before you sit to write your assignment. Before you attempt to write, make a rough outline. This rough outline should briefly mention what you plan to write in which section and in which order. The plan you create will only be a basic map that will guide you to write in detail. 

For example:

In this assignment, your task is to review it. You have read the article and made notes by now. Now it is your turn to form a rough template determining how you wish to proceed with your answer. You can create a template similar to this one:

  • Introduction – 1 paragraph 
  • The main argument made by the author along with examples offered by you to relate the writing with the reality – 4 or more paragraphs 
  • Conclusion – 1 paragraph 

The planning stage can also include a timeline. You can generate a timeline for yourself where you self-appoint deadlines. When you manage your time systematically, you write better. The work done with ease and time always has more quality than the work completed at the last moment. 

Writing Sociology Assignment

All the efforts and the hard work you have done will now be applied. What is an assignment if not to convey what you have in your mind to the reader? A sociology assignment should be written in a concise and factually correct manner. Keep in mind that sociology is the scientific study of human society, and statements cannot be made lightly in passing. At this moment, you know what the question has asked. You also have designated a plan to complete the assignment. All that needs to be done now is to put all that background research into words. 

Introduction 

Start your review by giving a brief summary of what the paper really talks about. Give the reader a very broad idea about what this reading is about. In the introductory paragraph, you can leave out the finer details and focus on the main theme running across the piece of writing. Additionally, you can also provide an overview to the reader telling them what and how you plan to tackle this review. Inform the reader what to expect from this assignment. 

For example, you could write something like this:

The article by Thomas Mathiesen is a critique of Foucault’s concept of the “Panopticon”. The concept and idea of the Panopticon which Foucault borrowed from Jeremy Bentham is one of the most important concepts included in his book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Through the medium of this article, Mathiesen has shown how Panopticon is present in today’s society. He shows that Panopticon is not the only reality of the modern state like Foucault suggested, but it has grown alongside another phenomenon of “Synopticon”. The paper throughout its length aims to exhibit the developmental parallels and relationships between Panopticon and Synopticon, as well as their reciprocal functions. 

Main Body (the arguments presented by the author and the examples offered by you)

This will be the largest and the most significant portion of your answer. In this section, you have to now dwell on finer details and curate an answer that flows naturally discussing all the aspects that Mathiesen pointed out. Here you critically reflect back on what the author had to say and agree or disagree with them by providing examples from contemporary scenarios. Make sure that you divide your arguments in different paragraphs. Ideally, the Sociology Group recommends that you allocate two paragraphs to explain one argument. The first paragraph should give the summary of what the author said and the following paragraph should reflect your view of things. 

For example, you could write something like this:

Arguments made by Mathiesen:- 

Thomas Mathiesen talks about another concept that is leading society today, Synopticism. This is also a critique of Panopticism. Mathiesen suggests that unlike what Foucault said, today we are living in a ‘viewer society’, where the many see a few. This is possible because of the ever-growing prevalence of mass media. He asserts that while talking about Panopticism, Foucault completely omitted to mention mass media even when both these functions were growing simultaneously. The reason for this, Mathiesen states, can be because if Foucault did include mass media in the analysis, then his entire argument of Panopticon would have changed (Mathiesen, 1997, 219). 

Your reflection and examples put forth:-

Today we do live in a society that is guided by surveillance. Wherever we go we are faced with different forms of surveillance, the most common of which is the use of CCTV cameras. If I talk about myself and my daily routine, it is filled with me being captured in a CCTV camera. A camera which I do not know who has access to, or who watches me. I live in a big colony which is filled with cameras. The floor on which I live has two CCTVs, there’s one in the lift, then there are cameras all over the society and even in the market area. Outside, the dominant mode of travel is the metro, which again has CCTV cameras installed after every ten steps. Foucault through his work also suggests that it is this invisible surveillance that controls our body by controlling the soul. I think this is true to a lot of extents as well. In many public places, people only subject themselves to discipline because of the threat of “being seen”. CCTVs are the biggest reason for this.

Conclusion 

This will be the final section of your assignment. A conclusion is an important section that summarizes all that you’ve written. It is similar to writing an introduction. You must include an abbreviated version of the numerous arguments and points that you have mentioned in detail above. As a result, a conclusion is a section in which you have one last chance to inform your reader of what you’ve said in your piece.

Also Check: Compare and Contrast Essay – Guide

For example, you could write something like this:

In conclusion, I would say that this was a fairly well-written article, but it did have its own shortcomings. First of all, the concept of the Panopticon used by Foucault could have been explained in a more detailed way. For the people who do not know this theory, it gets a little generic and vague to understand what Panopticon is and how it is related to surveillance and discipline. Secondly, the section written on the use of the Internet and its significance in the Synoptic system was described very poorly. It is not justified, and its placement in the article broke the flow. Lastly, I would reiterate that this article was easy to understand for those who know what Panopticon means in the Foucauldian sense. And it was interesting to see how both the systems of Panopticon and Synopticon operate simultaneously and shape the society we live in today. 

Reviewing 

Academic writing is impossible to complete in a single sitting. You should revise, rewrite, and reread your material several times. Do not revise your essay immediately after completing the first draft. Allow for a period of time, at least four hours. Then go back over your essay and make changes based on three criteria. The first thing you should look for is any grammatical or spelling errors. The second criterion is to examine the arguments you’ve made and whether or not the examples you’ve provided are related. The third criterion is to read the article objectively and as a reader. The more you modify, the better your results will be. However, the Sociology Group believes that your third iteration is the most important. Draft 1 is a raw version, Draft 2 is an updated version, and Draft 3 is the final version.

When you are done writing and reviewing the assignment, make sure that you add proper citations and references to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism should be avoided in any academic article. However, how can one avoid plagiarism when their essay is based on research conducted by others? Giving acknowledgment to the original author for their work is the solution. This is accomplished in academics through the Citation and Referencing processes (sometimes also called Bibliography).

There are many different styles of citations and you can determine which you want to follow. Some of the most common styles of citation and referencing are MLA, APA, and Chicago styles. If you are working on Google Docs or Word then the application makes your work easier because they help you curate your citations. 

How to add citations in Google Doc: Tools → Citation

How to add citations in Word Document: References → Insert Citations 

But for those who want to cite manually, this is the basic format to follow:

  1. Author’s Name with Surname mentioned first, then initials 
  2. Article’s Title in single or double quotes
  3. Journal Title in Italics 
  4. Volume, issue number 
  5. Year of Publication
  6. Pages 

Example: Syrkin, A. 1984. “Notes on the Buddha’s Threats in the Dīgha Nikāya”, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 7(1), pp.147-58.

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Hello! My name is Eiti Tiwari and I am a budding sociologist. Reading, researching, and writing are some of the things I'm extremely passionate about. I survive on coffee, to-do lists, deadlines, and organization. My interest areas are food, gender, and academia.