How do I Write a Sociology Research Paper?

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  • Written By: Leo Zimmermann
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Sociology is a broad discipline, and different people may have different ideas about how to write a sociology research paper. For some, a research paper is any document extensively informed by outside sources, even if all of these sources are books about sociology and none are your own research. The archetypal sociology research paper, however, is structured in the same way as most scientific papers. It describes the creation and testing of a hypothesis, and it does so with a predictable sequence of sections.

If you are trying to write a sociology research paper according to these parameters, you begin with an introduction. The introduction reviews the published literature related to your area of interest. It should highlight the important areas of controversy in this area, and set up a problem that your hypothesis can help solve. For example, you might provide an analysis of contemporary research on media, democracy, and journalism to set up a hypothesis that people who read the internet are better informed than people who read newspapers. This hypothesis should appear towards the end of your introduction.


Next comes a section on methods. In this part of the essay, you describe how you are going to test your hypothesis. You might use a survey with statistical analysis, participant observation, discourse analysis, or any combination of the above. Again, if you were writing about news sources, you might survey people who read each type of source, then interview or even quiz them about what stories they know about. You should use the methods section to discuss why your chosen method will be an effective way to reach some conclusion about your hypothesis.

In the results section, you present the outcome of your research. Although you may not be able to reproduce all of the information you collected, you should give readers a sense that they are getting the full picture: the raw materials upon which your analysis will be built. Graphs and numbers are good ways to represent quantitative data. Putting qualitative data in your results section requires more creativity; you have to make decisions about how you will group quotations, how you will describe your personal experiences, and so on.

In the final section of a sociology research paper, usually called the discussion, you analyze your results in relation to the hypothesis and to the topic at large. The most important question to resolve is whether or not the results support the hypothesis, and how strongly. Analyze everything interesting about the data. Once you have discussed your own results, you can go on to describe the new things you learned about the problem, recommend new ways of thinking about it, and suggest future research that you think might be interesting. Sometimes you might end with an additional section, called the conclusion, which summarizes your most important findings from the discussion.


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Post 3

Most people know how to write a research paper. There is an introduction with a thesis statement, a middle and a conclusion. What most people forget is proper citations for information that they take from other sources.

I think that this one of the most important aspects to pay attention when writing a research paper. When information is taken and used without citations, it's plagiarism. It's fine to use information, but the author and source should always be mentioned in the paper. Using lots of sources and citing them properly is actually something that impresses teachers.

Post 2

@candyquilt-- It's a good idea to check your instructor's requirements and speak to your instructor and peers about your paper topic. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you have trouble determining where you want to take the topic and what hypothesis you want to prove, ask your instructor for ideas. Most instructors will actually want to see your hypothesis or thesis statement first.

What you want to do is come up with an idea about sociology and food that you would like to prove or disprove. For example, you may want to research the effect that food has on social interaction. You can read about the eating habits of various cultures and whether these habits encourage or discourage interaction and bonding between people

You can then use examples to show how this relationship works.

Post 1

I need to write a sociology research paper about sociology and food. I don't know where to start though. What type of information should I look for?

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