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SOC 350: Theories Guiding Sociology (Fall 2021)

Dr. Jackie Burnside



SOC 350:  Theories Guiding Sociology                                                       Date ______________

Instructor:  Dr. Jackie Burnside                                                        Essay #1: A Documented Essay
Librarians: Ms. Amanda Peach, Mr. Angel Rivera

Finding One’s Calling in a (Post) Pandemic Work World

“Your vocation in life is

where your greatest joy

meets the world's greatest need.”

Frederick Buechner, EDUCATOR, WRITER, THEOLOGIAN.  (accessed 2/22/2021)

            Learning Objectives for this assignment:

  • To explore one’s potential Calling (ref. Max Weber’s concept)
  • To practice critical reading skills of secondary sources
  • To continue to update knowledge of resources and refine library research strategies
  • To apply sociological concepts and five major theoretical perspectives in interpreting data

In Max Weber’s research, he noticed the importance of the calling, one’s Life Task, not only in motivating an individual to achieve worldly success in some career but also to uphold a moral obligation in performing one’s work (labor) to the best of one’s abilities (Appelrouth & Edles, 136-37).  Weber was very interested in being able to describe, explain and understand the results (patterns) resulting from workers’ quests to fulfill their ‘callings in a secular fashion that influenced many dramatic transformations under capitalism.

For this documented essay, think deeply about what work could become your calling, and identify two specific occupations in the 21st Century in which your calling may be manifest.  Collect, describe and interpret data on changes over time in the workers’ demographic features (e.g. age, sex, race & ethnicity) of your two specific occupations, as well as the broad occupational group(s) within which your two occupations would be categorized.  Present your data in a table format which will allow you to compare and contrast the changes in the different occupations and the occupational category (ies).

Step 1:  Choose the occupational group (1) and then choose two (2) occupations.  In your narrative, describe your rationale, and discuss anything that influenced your choices.   While it may be simpler to choose two occupations that are classified in the same broad group, follow your calling when possible.   Examples of occupational groups (broad, major, minor) are: 

Office & Administrative Support                        Education, Training & Library

Service & related occupations                           Business & Financial Operations                   

Community & Social Service                             Healthcare Practitioners & Technical

Legal occupations                                             Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, & Media   

Protective Service occupations                         Construction & Extraction

Food Preparation & Serving related                  Farming, Fishing & Forestry


Step 2:  Define your occupations by using the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and Data USA.  Occupational groups are used to classify workers so that data can be collected, calculated and disseminated about hundreds of occupations based on their descriptions and definitions.  

Step 3:  Gather data on occupations by Groups, including gender and race composition over

time, e.g. 2014 to 2018. 

  1. You may have three sets of data about gender and earnings (% male and % female) for

Occupation One, for Occupation Two and for Broad Occupational Group.

(b)  Likewise, you may have three sets of data about race and earnings for Occupation

 One, for Occupation Two and for Broad Occupational Group.         

          Step 4:  Create tables to communicate your data.  Aim for a readable, understandable form. 

          Note:  Provide footnotes for any question you think your audience may have about your

data, e.g. if you combine racial categories into “non-white”, or if you show selected

years for a category.

          Step 5:  Write your analysis as a documented essay and refer to the key aspects noted in my

grading rubric.

Length:  word count 750-950, typed, 1.5 line spacing, with appropriate citations both in-text

and Works cited (minimum six sources including our main text).


Aug 31st      Read Assignment and start Thinking

Tuesday       Move from topic to exploring Thesis.

Sept 2nd      Workshop for Library Resources exploration- class meets in room 103 of         

Thursday     Hutchins Library.    Find/evaluate/read sources to compile prelim bibliography, working thesis with outline. 

Sept 9-14th   Continue to read critically and think. Develop structure. Draft paper with in-text

citations, APA style.

                     Peer Review on writing Drafts; the fuller your drafts, the more helpful your Peers feedback can be.  Work with peers from class, plus Sociology Labor Assistants and/or Writing Center Consultants.

Sept 16th      Final Essay (on paper) due in class, And Oral Presentation, six to eight minutes with power point (slides = < 8), and with Q&A audience response.



Grading Rubric:

SOC 350:  Theories Guiding Sociology                                                                 Date: ___________

Dr. Jackie Burnside                                                     Name ________________________________

Feedback:  Finding One’s Calling . . .

Feedback Scale:  Very Good (A, A-); Good (B+, B, B-); Fair, mostly satisfactory (C+, C, C-);

Unsatisfactory (D+, D, D-); Poor/not done (F)

___________  Provides an interesting opening and an attention-catching title.                                                                                

___________  Describes one’s calling and rationale, applies Weber’s concepts (underlined), other

sociologists relevant.

__________   Identifies two occupations and their broader occupation group, including choice


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________   Creation of tables for occupations’ data:  complete to show patterns and changes over


_________     Discusses key social dynamics and/or historical factors that may influence changes, or

not much change, for the occupations.

__________   Applies sociological concepts (20 underlined), and/or theoretical perspectives to enrich

comparisons and contrasts.

__________ Writing Effectiveness: paragraph construction, sentence grammar, clarity, style and


__________   Writing Mechanics:  word count= 750-950, typed, 1.5 line spacing, with appropriate

APA style citations both in-text and Works cited (minimum six sources including

 our text).

___________  Grade and Comment: __________________________________________________

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Data USA

What Career is a Fit for Me?

Need a Professional Headshot?

Other sources

You need additional articles related to your profession. Consider searching Academic Search Complete using these search terms:

the name of your profession (ex. archivist)


terms such as: growth, opportunities, trends, issues

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