Soc 101: Principles of Sociology

Purpose of assignment:

  • To explore how a country’s social structure/system impact individuals in their daily lives
  • To use your sociological imagination to consider the 1.) historical/cultural 2.) political 3.) economic aspects that created and sustain these systems
  • Analyze: consider several sources to help create a deeper understanding of the costs and benefits of the country’s set-up, and compare the same system from the American side.


  1. View the film. I recommend first watching it for fun to give yourself a basic idea of the content.  After you view the film once, choose a topic/segment you would like to explore and rewatch it (you can also find these segments on YouTube for easy accessibility).


  1. Start Researching: Now that you know what country/system you will be exploring, take about an hour or so, to do some preliminary background research, or in other words a basic google search. Get a sense of how this system functions.  Keep your eye out for the historical, economic, and political forces that have influence over these systems. Jot down some keywords or ideas that are recurring.  Once you are done doing this, you will then follow the same process to explore the way America handles the same system.  For instance, if you researched prisons in Norway, you will also explore the American prison system along the same three dimensions. This process will help you develop good “keyword” searches in the Holman library database.
  • Click to visit the Holman Library Sociology Research Guide and input your search words from your preliminary research.  Sometimes what you are looking for will pop right up, other times the process will take longer and you will need to dig deeper into the publications; just know that this process can take time.  Never hesitate to reach out to your librarians if you are still having a hard time finding what you are looking for. A strong paper should have the dimensions align so that it is inherently comparative.
  1. Start writing your Paper:

Introduction: Your introduction should concisely introduce your reader to the main ideas that your paper will explore. The last sentence, will also include a thesis statement or the main idea you are trying to convey to your reader.  (one paragraph)

Body: Using your research from the Holman Library database, discuss the basic set-up of the system, as well as aspects of the society that contribute to that set-up; explain how the 1.) cultural/historical 2.) political and  3.) economic forces have created, influenced, and sustained this system(be sure to address one example of each and separate these ideas into paragraphs; each paragraph should have 3-5 sentences and also include a topic sentence) Follow the same process for the American side.  You must cite all of your sources in text. (3-4 pages)

Working towards Progress: What policy ideas would you recommend for improving our current system. What are social reformers currently suggesting be done? Are there different sides or angles to this reform?  (1/2-1 page)

Conclusion: Your conclusion should restate the main ideas of your paper and wrap up your essay, by reminding the readers of the basic ideas that you presented.  Your topic sentence should reiterate your thesis statement. (one paragraph)

  1. Citing Sources: Your paper you must include four (4) sources that support your analysis.
  • Sources can include encyclopedia articles, books or book chapters, journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, or videos
  • Holman Library Databases:
  • All sources need to be cited (use either APA or MLA style)
  • you must include a “References” page (for APA style) or a “Works Cited” page (for MLA style)
  • you must also include in-text citations for each of your sources
  • Help on citing sources:
  • How to find reliable sources:
  • Other Requirements:

Papers should be:

Written in the third person (no I, we, me, us etc.,)

Should be double spaced and written in Times New Roman with one-inch margins.

*See Grading Rubric on the following page