Writing in Sociology
Academic sociologists write for scholarly audiences about the research they conduct. In producing research, they may write field notes, interview guides, surveys, codebooks, and analytical research memos. They publish the results in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, research monographs, conference and other public talks, abstracts, statements of purpose, research proposals, and grant applications. They also write book reviews and commentaries that are published in academic journals.
Academic sociologists also engage in public sociology and produce writing for non-academic audiences in the form of research reports, expert testimonies, documentaries, blogs, and op/eds. As members of academic institutions and communities, they may write letters of recommendation, letters of application/cover letters, email correspondence, agendas, meeting minutes, informational material (e.g. brochures), instructional documents, program assessments, and syllabi.
Sociology majors who work in non-academic professional arenas may engage in many of the same types of writing, including research and technical reports, program summaries and assessments, proposals and grants, newsletters, agendas and minutes, email correspondence, letters (of application, to lawmakers, to clients, to constituents, etc.), public presentations, instructional and informational documents (e.g., manuals and brochures), and descriptive writing (e.g., used in policing/social work, etc.).
Writing in SOCI 100W
The Sociology Writing Workshop introduces students to the types of writing done by sociologists in academia and in non-academic professional arenas. Students learn both strategies for reading and for producing the various types of sociological writing. This includes preparing students for academic writing in their upper division sociology courses. The course also examines and emulates professional academic writing (journal articles, book chapters, and research monographs) as well as technical reports, critiques and reviews, opinion and editorial writing. The course also develops skills needed for general professional writing and oral communication (e.g., proposal writing, email correspondence, and resumes, research presentations, and job interviews).
How We Do It
The Sociology Writing Workshop provides a variety of opportunities to build the skill-sets of developing sociological writers. Instructors lead skills-focused workshops, where students “do” the work in class. In-class freewriting and structured exercises provide time for students to engage in regular writing as a writing community. Instructors scaffold writing assignments so that students are producing small chunks of larger assignments over the course of the semester. Drafting, revision, peer-review, and written reflection are built in to the schedule to emphasize the core idea that writing is a process. Information literacy trainings are conducted in class and/or in the library to help students locate, evaluate, and use information resources. Exams help to keep students focused on concepts and reading material. Student-faculty writing conferences provide one-on-one instruction time to discuss individual work and writing issues (See Assignment Sequence Example and Sociology 100W Assignment Overview).
Readings, discussions, and lecturettes on sociological content provides a common discourse to provide an intellectual context for some of the writing assignments. Students also pursue their own intellectual interests through research projects that serve as the base for many of the writing assignments.
Public speaking and presentation skills are developed through research project, presentations, small group discussions, and mock job interviews.
Learn More About Our Program
Follow the links below to learn more about our 100W program.
- Writing in Sociology Assignments
- Sample SOCI 100W Assignment Sequence (PDF File) [pdf]
- Resources for SOCI 100W Students
- Informal Assignments and Exercises
- Overview of Assignments, Skills, Scaffolding, and Learning Objectives(PDF File) [pdf]
- Resources for SOCI 100W Instructors
Sociology 100w Assessment Plan
The Sociology Department's assessment plan consists of two parts:
- A survey of faculty members' Expectations for Student Writing that asks faculty to tell us more about their writing expectations for students, the types of writing issues they encounter in student work, the types of writing assignments and instruction that they do in their courses, and the types of writing support that they could use in their classrooms. We also ask about the types of writing skills faculty feel are essential for Sociology students to have when they graduate.
- A yearly assessment of GE Student Learning Objectives.