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INSTRUCTIONS FOR WRITING ASSIGNMENT #2

In your second short paper for this course, you will write a memo to a reporter
explaining some important findings of sociological research to him or her.

This paper will be based on assigned readings for the course, so you should not
do any additional research to find additional authors. Use Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
13 or 19 in the Giddens textbook (and, where appropriate, material from lecture BUT
NOT JUST LECTURE), and cite Giddens.

THE PAPER IS DUE BY THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018, AND IS WORTH A TOTAL OF 40
POINTS. It must be typed and turned in when due. NO HANDWRITTEN, LATE OR
EMAILED PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

Choose one of the questions below (and answer every part of the question):

1. Explain at least 3 theories about why people commit or don’t commit crimes.
According to sociologists, what is social deviance? Is it the same thing as crime?

2. Explain what social class means. Is a class system the same as a caste system?
How much economic inequality and social class mobility is there in the U.S.?

3. Let me understand (by telling me statistics) how unequally the world’s wealth is
distributed. Discuss at least 3 theories explaining why some countries are poorer than
others.

4. How do we know that gender inequalities aren’t biological in nature, but social?
Discuss the evidence that men and women still do not occupy equal status in society;
what are the sociological theories explaining gender inequality?

5. What is “race,” and what is “ethnicity”? Is racism the same thing as prejudice, or is
there more to it than people’s feelings? What are some theories of racism? Is there
evidence that people of color and immigrants still do not occupy equal status with
native-born whites in the U.S.?

6. Discuss at least 5 aspects of political life (from this chapter). What is a social
movement, and what are the 4 theories of how and why social movements arise?

7. Explain the following concepts about urban life: urban ecology; urbanism as a way of
life; the created environment; the global city. Are cities in the Global South the same as
cities in the U.S. (if different, describe how they are different).

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LENGTH OF PAPER:

Your paper should be approximately 1-3 pages in length, single-spaced, with references
appearing on a separate page. Please, no longer than 3 pages.

HOW A MEMO IS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER TYPES OF PAPERS:

A memo is a stripped down, highly efficient way of communicating essential information. We


rely on this format in this class because (1) it more closely resembles the
style of writing most of you will use when you graduate (i.e., you will never write a
college essay again post graduation); and (2) it is a way of forcing you to think about
your use of evidence to support your explanations as you answer the questions.

In a memo, your introduction does not need a flowery wind-up (you don't have the space for
that). All you need is to clearly answer the questions, and back up your answers with evidence
(mostly, this will involve citing the assigned readings and, where applicable, lectures).

WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE IN THE PAPER:

 Do not include any diagrams, pictures or figures cut and pasted from anywhere.

 Do not include any direct quotes from source material (instead, summarize it in
your own words and cite the author). This is very important! Even if you place
the material in quotation marks and cite the author, this is actually a form
of plagiarism.

QUALITY OF WRITING:

Good writing means establishing clear connections between sentences and ensuring a
logical flow of your thinking throughout the paper.

Good writing also means reading the paper and checking it over for errors before
turning it in. Make sure you have addressed these two points before handing your
paper in:

1. Cohesion: Are subjects and ideas grouped together or scattered throughout the
paper? If scattered around, it can make the paper sound like rambling. (If you catch
yourself writing “as I pointed out…” then you know your paper could be more coherent.)

2. Reading quality: Does the reader have to work hard to figure out what the writer is
trying to say? Are there missing words, misspelled words, sentence fragments,
“problem sentences” that do not really make sense? (All of this should be corrected
before you turn the paper in; therefore, 3 points will be deducted for each problematic
sentence.)

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CITATION AND DOCUMENTATION OF REFERENCES:

For scholarly work, there are 2 processes: citation and documentation. Both are
important.

Citation: In the body of your paper, each time you use information from someone else’s
ideas you must cite the author to give them credit for their ideas and avoid committing
plagarism.

Sociologists use the Chicago style, which (for journal articles and many scholarly books)
is an author/date system.

 For example, let’s say I was using Charles Harper’s book to talk about water
uses. Here’s how it should be cited:

(From my paper):

In the U.S., households consume only about 8 percent of water; agriculture uses
92% (Harper 2016).

The citation does not need to include a page number (only the author’s last name and
year of publication are needed).

Should I cite lecture material? Usually, in this type of paper a student would not cite a
professor’s lecture. But for this paper I would like you to do so by using the title of the
lecture, in this way:

(Lecture on “Environmental Justice and the Law”).

Please note that I don’t want you to cite my name or the year for lectures (instead,
use the title of the lecture; nor should lectures appear on the References or
Works Cited page).

Documentation: Documentation is a way of telling the reader how to find a given source.
This is a really confusing time to be a scholar—methods of documentation are changing
rapidly due to new publishing norms (scholarly works are often published first online and
thus have no page numbers; others are available only online; scholarly works have
permanent URLs while newspapers and other sources don’t, etc.).

For all written materials assigned for this course, please use this simplified version of
Chicago Style for documentation (it is not necessary to document lectures—citing them
will be enough):

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For books:

Harper, Charles L. 2016. Environment and Society. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Press.

 In the example above, note that we have the first author’s last name and first
name, the year of publication, the title of the book, the city where it was
published, and the name of the press.

For journal articles:

Morello-Frosch, Rachel et al. 2011. “Understanding the Cumulative Impacts of


Inequalities in Environmental Health: Implications for Policy.” Health Affairs, 30, 5:
879-887.

 In the example above, note that we have the first author’s last name and first
name (all other authors appear as “et al.”), the year of publication, the title of the
article, the title of the journal in which the article was published, the volume
number of the journal (30), the issue number (5), and finally the page numbers
(879-887).

Sicotte, Diane M. and Joyce, Kelly A. 2017. “Not a ‘Petro Metro:’ Challenging Fossil
Fuel Expansion.” Environmental Sociology, p. 1-11.

 In this example, note that the article does not yet have a volume number or issue
number: the article is available online but has not yet come out in print.

References Page: All references should appear on a separate page (headed with
“References” or “Works Cited.”) References must appear in alphabetical order (by last
name of first author).

PLAGARISM WARNING:

 Plagiarism includes the following: submitting a paper written by someone else;


submitting a paper written for another class; two classmates submitting the same
paper on the same topic; cutting-and-pasting text from assigned readings or
Internet sources; and transcribing text from a printed document word-for-word.
IF PLAGARISM IS DETECTED, YOU WILL RECEIVE AN F FOR THE COURSE
AND THE OFFICE OF JUDICIAL AFFAIRS WILL BE NOTIFIED.

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CRITERIA FOR GRADING FINAL VERSION OF PAPER:

POINT SPREAD, DESCRIPTION


GRADE
38 – 40 A+ The question has been answered in a detailed and accurate way that
37 A shows a very complete understanding of course material. The author
36 A- has cited and documented written material correctly. Paper is coherent
and contains no problem sentences or misspellings; no diagrams or
direct quotes appeared in the paper.
34 - 35 B+ The question has been answered in a way that was mostly (but not
33 B entirely) detailed and accurate enough. Or, the answer was sufficiently
32 B- detailed and accurate but paper suffers from writing problems or
problems with citation and documentation. Paper is coherent and
contains only one or two problem sentences or misspellings. Paper
contains no diagrams or direct quotes.
30 - 31 C+ The question has been answered in a way that was not detailed or
29 C accurate enough. Or, the answer was sufficiently detailed and accurate
28 C- but paper suffers from writing problems or problems with citation and
documentation. Paper lacks coherence and contains more than one or
two problem sentences or misspellings. Paper contains one diagram or
one direct quote.
26 - 27 D+ The question has been answered in a way that was not detailed or
25 D accurate enough. Paper suffers from writing problems or problems with
24 D- citation and documentation. Paper lacks coherence and contains more
than one or two problem sentences or misspellings. Paper contains one
diagram or one direct quote.
Less than 24 points F No paper submitted OR plagiarism detected; no citations or references
included.