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SOC 350: Theories Guiding Sociology (spring 2024)

Dr. Jackie Burnside

Coleman Boat

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SOC 350:  Theories Guiding Sociology                                  Date: _______________________

Instructor:  Dr. J. Burnside            2nd Essay (30%):               Name _______________________

Writing is Powerful!

Takes more than an Instructor to teach you,

 you have to teach yourself.

– Denzel Washington as Rubin Carter

Intellectualism as an Escape from Earthly Hardships.

– Soc 350 Class Discussion (March 2024)

Topic: Students identify and select an author whose work has had sociological impact and make their argument in an explanatory style essay.  Word count = 1600-1800, seven to eight sources (include our A&E text) and provide a context statement after your essay ends. 

Examples:   Ursula LeGuin ‘s The Wizard of Earthsea, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid Tale, Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sword, bell hooks ‘Bone Black.

As you apply theoretical concepts to examples, illustrate the relevance.   Some of your examples may challenge the theorists’ claims by providing examples of social phenomena that do not fit the expectations, or assumptions, laid out in the theories.  If so, give your opinion about the strengths and/or shortcomings evident. 

Student Learning Objectives (SLO):

  • Practice writing skills student identified from mini conferences (at midterm).
  • Apply theoretical perspectives of Symbolic Interactionalism, Feminism, and

Postmodernism by including ten concepts from theorists like Erving Goffman, Arlie Hochschild, Patricia Hill Collins, Judith Butler, James Coleman, and others.

Being successful on this second essay will depend on crafting a working thesis with outlines that convey your major points, locating relevant resources, planning the paper by thinking and discussing ideas during the early steps, and using peer review(s) through your writing process.  Along with your instructor and class members, you have our Reference librarians, Ms. Amanda Peach & Mr. Angel Rivera, plus the Writing Resources Center staff for assistance and feedback.

*Note. Hutchins Library ebook: Authors Peter Elbow. Writing with power : techniques for mastering the writing process.


Very Good (A, A-)

Good (B+, B, B-)


(C+, C, C-)

Unsatisfactory (D+, D)

Interesting title and introduction include a thesis

 Title and introduction paragraph announces subject in memorable way

Title fits and introduction paragraph is mostly clear, and still draw readers in.

Title is okay but introduction paragraph is not consistently clear. The opening does not draw readers attention.

Title is fair or missing; purpose of introduction is generally unclear.

Discussion has descriptive details, and application of sociological Imagination.

Balanced presentation of relevant & legitimate info that clearly supports key points.  Shows a thoughtful analysis of a significant topic.  Reader gains important insights.

Information about facts provides reasonable support for a central purpose & displays a general application of a significant topic.  Reader gains some insights.

Information supports a central purpose at times.  Analysis is basic or general.  Reader gains few insights.

Central purpose is not clearly identified.  Analysis is vague or not evident.  Reader is confused or may be misinformed.

Explanations make effective use of eight to ten concepts in expressing the argument(s).*

Balanced presentation of relevant aspects that clearly relate to concepts.  Interweaves a thoughtful use of theoretical perspectives.

Information about each  perspective concept provides reasonable support for a central purpose & displays evidence of a basic analysis.

Information about perspectives is uneven and provides only partial support & displays evidence of a basic analysis.

Information about theoretical concepts is missing or lacking adequate details and provides little evidence of a basic analysis.



Paragraph construction

The ideas are arranged logically to support the purpose.  Paragraphs transition smoothly from one to another.  The reader can follow the organization of reasoning.

The ideas are arranged logically to support the central purpose.  Paragraphs are usually clearly linked to each other.  For the most part, the reader can follow the reasoning.

Better paragraph construction would help the writing’s logical arrangement of ideas. The reader is clear about what writer intends.

The writing is not logically organized by paragraphs.  Frequently, ideas fail to make sense together, so the reader loses interest.

Sentence Structure


Word Choice.  Was Peer Reviewed (PR).

Sentences are well phrased and varied in length and structure. Flow is smooth from one to another.

  Word choice is consistently precise & accurate.

Sentences are well phrased with variety in structure.  Flow from sentence to sentence is generally smooth. 

 The writer often goes beyond the generic word to choose one more precise & effective.

Some sentences are awkwardly constructed, and the reader is occasionally distracted.

Word choice is limited and merely adequate.

Errors in sentence structure are frequent enough to be a distraction to the reader.

Some words are used inappropriately.

Grammar, punctuation, and word count.

 References, including A&E text, are seven to eight sources.

The writing is free or almost free of errors; has word count (1600-1800). 

Quality references are included.   Citation credit is clear & fairly represented.

There are occasional errors, but they don’t represent a major distraction or obscure meaning. 

Legitimate sources that support claims are generally present.

The writing has several errors.   Sources of information are confusing.  Word count may or may not have proper length.

There are many errors that obscure the meaning. Word count may or may not have proper length.  References are seldom cited or are incorrectly cited.