Course Paper Assignment: SOC 150 Fall 2012
While reading Sudhir Venkatesh’s book Gang Leader for a Day, use your sociological imagination to identify relevant social problems, concepts, and theories discussed in this course. When you have finished reading the text, you will be required to write a two to three-page paper using the guidelines below.
Directions for how to do sociological analysis of this text:
(1) Choose one of the following topics to address:
a) Gendered division of labor in the underground economy
b) Authority and social control in the Robert Taylor Homes
c) Persistent racial disparities in black urban neighborhoods
You may develop your own sociological topic ONLY with instructor’s approval
(2) Develop an interesting argument or thesis about the book that addresses the selected topic. Do not simply summarize the book; you must make a clear and persuasive argument that is sociologically grounded and relevant.
(3) You must provide clear evidence to support your thesis/argument. For your evidence, use three ideas, concepts, and/or theories from your textbook. They must be (1) relevant to your chosen topic, and (2) apply to the events and characters in the Venkatesh book.
Below are my expectations for the paper and the grading rubric:
- I. Document Set-up: (1 point)
ü 2-3 typed pages (no more or less)
ü 1-inch margins all around
ü 12-point, Times New Roman font
ü Double-spaced (except the heading)
ü Proper heading at the top left (First and Last name, Title of Course, Professor Name, Date)
ü Page numbers in bottom right footer
ü Descriptive title
- II. Clarity and Readability: (3 points)
ü Free of spelling mistakes
ü Careful attention to grammar (proper verb tenses, subject-object agreement, etc.)
ü Minimize run-on or fragmented sentences
ü Write in the active voice (avoid passive styles of writing)
ü Use transitional phrases and sentences
- III. Structure and Organization: (5 points)
ü Structure as a basic 5-paragraph persuasive essay (Intro, Body, Conclusion)
ü Introductory paragraph should include:
- A statement about the sociological topic you chose to examine
- A clear thesis statement
- A “roadmap” sentence describing what you will discuss in the paper
ü Each body paragraph should support your thesis by applying different sociological theories/concepts/ideas to the Venkatesh book.
ü The conclusion paragraph should briefly recap your argument and evidence and should NOT include any new information.
- IV. Thesis Statement: (5 points)
An effective thesis statement fulfills the following criteria.
It should be:
ü Substantial – Your thesis should be a claim that easily answers every reader’s question: “So what?”
ü Supportable – A thesis must be a claim that you can prove with the evidence at hand (e.g., evidence from your texts). Your claim should not be outlandish, nor should it be mere personal opinion or preference (e.g., “J.T. is my favorite character of the book.”)
ü Precise – An effective thesis statement has been narrowed down from a very broad subject. Your claim should NOT be something on which whole books could be written.
ü Arguable – A thesis statement should NOT be a statement of fact or an assertion that every reader is likely to immediately agree (Otherwise, why try to convince your readers with an argument?).
ü Relevant – the thesis should answer the question your instructor has posed. In order to stay focused, pay attention to the task words in the assignment: summarize, argue, compare/contrast, etc.
- V. Supporting Evidence: (10 points)
ü Three different sociological theories/concepts/ideas should form the basis for your supporting evidence of your paper.
ü Each should be clearly relevant to the topic you selected and the Venkatesh book.
ü You should thoughtfully apply the concepts to the characters and events in the book AND use it to support your overall thesis.
ü Be sure to include a basic definition of each theory/concept/idea before you discuss its application.
- VI. Peer Review (1 point)
ü You must bring your first draft of the paper to class on Friday, December 7th and participate in a peer review with one other student.