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Sociology & Criminology

  1. What kinds of writing assignments can I expect in SCC?

    Professors in the Sociology and Criminology department give various assignments depending on the course such as short reaction papers to assigned readings, empirical (research) papers, or group project papers.

    Types of writing in this department include:

    • In class
      • Short and long essay examinations
      • Timed writings (reflective/analytical)
    • Technical Writing
      • Report Writing
      • U.S. Supreme Court case briefs
      • Resume-building
      • Program of study
    • Formal Writing
      • Research papers
      • Formal research proposals
      • Position papers
      • Literature Reviews
      • Scholarly journal article reviews
      • Methodological reviews/critiques
      • Annotated bibliographies
      • Policy analysis
    • Informal Writing
      • Reflection/reaction papers
      • Film critiques
      • Concept application papers
      • Experiential papers
      • Field notes
      • Interview transcription
      • Journals (Internships)


  2. How will I be graded?
    • Clear sense of the question or topic being written about
    • Clear, strong thesis statement
    • Clear purpose and reasonable argument with relevant support (evidence, references, examples)
    • Careful integration of assigned readings in paper (flow & coherence)
    • Good organization
    • Depth of coverage (content)
    • Accuracy
    • Clear, concise language
    • Correct use and reporting of research methods (if empirical)
    • Careful attention to format and documentation
    • Grammatical and spelling proficiency


  3. What qualities are sought out in SCC?
    • Critical Insight
    • Theoretical analysis & analytic sensitivity
    • Identification & questioning of assumptions
    • Creativity & exploration of ideas
    • Anticipate objections to argument & address them


  4. Learning Objectives for writing in the Sociology & Criminology Department.
    • After completion of the DSW requirements, students will be able to:
    • Write papers/documents using lines of reasoning and support unique to sociology and criminology
    • Write abstracts
    • Properly construct bibliographies
    • Properly use parenthetical citations (ASA & APA styles)
    • Write literature reviews/critiques
    • Properly write data analysis and interpretation
    • Properly construct resumes and write cover letters


  5. What kinds of evidence are recognized as valid in SCC papers?
    • Be clear about professors' expectations
    • For research papers, students are expected to use peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and scholarly monographs as evidentiary sources.


  6. What citation conventions will I be expected to use in SCC papers?

    Depending on the professor, the department uses a modified version of American Sociological Association (ASA) that can be found at http://www.westga.edu/assetsDept/soccrim/ASA_style_guide_2008.pdf or American Psychological Association (APA) citation styles.

    All professors stress that the bibliographic section include all materials used to give credit to the original sources.


  7. Special do's and don'ts for papers in the Sociology and Criminology Department.
    • DO:
    • Cite material you use even if you paraphrased!
    • Use active voice construction
    • Write several drafts of your paper.
    • Run spell-check!
    • Consider suggestions made by grammar check
    • Double-check correct spellings of theorists, authors, and terms.
    • Say "I" or "me" in papers when appropriate.
    • DON'T:
    • "Borrow" ideas without citation, even if paraphrasing.
    • Print off a thrown together at the last minute rough draft that has not been spell checked or proofread and turn it in for a grade.
    • Write and turn in the same paper for different classes.
    • Use words or phrases that you do not understand.

For more tips, visit http://www.marquette.edu/wac/quicktips/QuickTips.shtml