You will write one 5 page paper analyzing one example of a social problem discussed global inequality, (racism). Your paper will draw on two peer-reviewed sociology articles. Both articles must be published in a sociology journal or written by sociologists if published in an interdisciplinary journal. You may likely encounter intersecting problems, for example race and class studied together. Sociology journal articles are typically longer and have more narrative than natural science articles. Part of the challenge of this assignment will be finding two articles that both deal with the problem you are interested in and are at a scale and scope of analysis that are comparable. Some articles will be too broad and others two narrow for your topic of interest. Sorting through the literature is a skill for understanding social science.
The final criteria you will need to be sure your selected articles meet for the assignment is that they contain original research and analysis of data. The analysis may be either quantitative and statistical or qualitative. Articles that simply review previous studies or theories without original analysis cannot be used to complete the assignment.
The paper format is as follows: Critically discuss 2 scholarly sociology articles on the inequality you choose for your topic. The paper should be organized as follows:
1) how does each article construct the social problem?
Is it defined as a problem based on a. social norms and values, b. the suffering it causes for individuals or groups, or c. both?
Note any overlapping or intersecting types of social problems or inequalities in how the authors frame your problem of interest (for example, race and environmental, gender and class, etc.)
2) what do the authors discuss as the social cause(s) or source(s) of the problem?
What did the author(s) find that previous research had determined?
How was each study different than what had been done before?
What concepts or theories from our texts were used in the articles?
How does your social problem of focus connect to others we have discussed within your authors’ analysis?
Are the two articles you have selected similar in their explanation of social causes or different?
3) what were the author(s) research questions or hypotheses? What specific questions/predictions did they want answered/tested?
What were the author(s) research methods?
What sources of data did they use? (e.g. participant observation, existing statistics, etc)
Was their analysis quantitative, qualitative or both? (not this is not about the type of data, but the analysis itself)
Sociology is a diverse discipline and scholarly papers range from very narrow empirical testing or description to presentation of more general theorizing. You are not required to be able fully explain or evaluate the methods used in empirical work, such as statistical or content analysis, rather to identify the relevant categories of method and the conclusions about the problem in question that the authors’ draw from their findings. Therefor discussion of methods should be brief and concise.
4)what key conclusions did they draw from their research about the causes of the social problem in question?
What are some solutions, changes, or reforms that would eliminate or mitigate the problem in question? These could be solutions explicitly proposed or implied in an article, in our texts, or your own based on your understanding of the cause(s).
In conclusion, give your assessment of the strengths or weaknesses of the authors’ claims, and how effective you think the solutions offered would be.
Grading criteria will include organization and clarity, use of scholarly evidence to support claims, and appropriate application of course concepts and theories.
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