Writing Tools

Sociology writing might seem different than creative writing (ex: poetry, short stories) or from writing for chemical or biological sciences, but might be considered a blend of several forms of writing.

Frankie’s Tips: Writing for Sociology

I.  Establish a question and/or possible relationship.

  • Sociology seeks to answer a question, so this is an effective way to start any writing project. When you are writing, you are presenting an argument – but why argue something when nobody has even asked? You need to formulate the question you are answering. This gives you a place to start and a place to return to when you get lost.

II.  Make Goals

  • What do you want to accomplish by writing this piece? You want to revisit these goals in order to make sure you’ve reached them with your completed piece.
  • Your goal should never be to write simply for a grade.

III.  Start Simple

  • What are the basics? Your outline starts there.
  • What do you enjoy writing about? Reading about? Talking about? Use this research map to reflect on your research, reading and writing interests.

IV.  Enjoy It  (or some part of it)

  • You may not enjoy writing as a basic practice. You may actually despise the process. Perhaps you already love writing – just not for classes
  • Find some joy in what you are working on, otherwise it will be torture
  • If you pour boredom and carelessness into your pages, it shows

Choose topics you actually care about or are interested in exploring

  • Sociology is a wide discipline because it involves studying people
  • Consider taking an academic look on something you already enjoy doing
  • Study a problem would you like to solve in the world

V.    Breaks & Snacks

  • I do not joke about snacks. You need fuel and energy to complete any writing project.

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The UW Madison Writing Center

  • UW Madison students and faculty can access the writing center for FREE up to 10 hours per semester. You can bring your writing from ANY class.
  • Students can also attend a variety of workshops to improve their writing skills

Helpful Links: Reading & Writing for Sociology

American Sociological Association: Format & Citations

Why Do We Read So Much in Sociology?

Avoiding Plagiarism in Sociology

  • This brief article + 1 minute video from the Everyday Sociology Blog demonstrate and outline how to discuss the work of other researchers without plagiarizing. 

Breaking Down Journal Articles

  • What are the different components of a journal article? What do the headlines mean and what information will you find in each section?

Reading Sociology Research Articles

  • UC Berkeley produced this short, 3-page guide with helpful tips on reading research in the discipline. This will make your reading much more efficient and you’ll get more relevant information for your particular research project in shorter time. 

The Writing Process

From Outline to First Draft

  • This is my guide to creating the first draft of a research project from the work you’ve already completed with an outline and annotated bibliography.

Transition Words

  • In both academic writing and professional writing, your goal is to convey information clearly and concisely, if not to convert the reader to your way of thinking. Transitions help you to achieve these goals by establishing logical connections between sentences, paragraphs, and sections of your papers. In other words, transitions tell readers what to do with the information you present to them. Whether single words, quick phrases, or full sentences, they function as signs that tell readers how to think about, organize, and react to old and new ideas as they read through what you have written s
  • Excerpts from UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/transitions

Power Words

Stronger Word Choices

Reverse Outlining

Active & Passive Voice

Thesis Statements

Oral Presentations

Short Writing Assignments

Research Projects

Presentations & Publications

They Say, I Say (textbook PDF)

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