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How to choose topic for your essay

The choice of topic and statement of the problem

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Typically, the list of topics for written work you are given in the syllabus.

Sometimes (as in the case of course sectionii) are encouraged to self-select topics. And in mA, for example, on any tutorial you write all the texts linked to the topic of the master thesis.

I advise you to pay attention to the fact that sociology is actually EVERYWHERE. A couple of years you will notice that the plots of most movies and TV shows for you will be too predictable – it’s a sign that you are on the right path to the development of sociological knowledge! Well, even friends will begin to hate you for spoilers during the show, this is also an indicator :)

I believe that while you can “be yourself”, then go ahead and take most unexpected cases! It can be stories TV series, cartoons, movies, comics, video games – anything with some history. Some of your predecessors chose “steam” and wrote almost about beaten along and across the topic about the boy Mowgli or used to take subjects from the school curriculum for literature. And – guess what – it was not only boring, but a weak work which has received the appropriate evaluation. Shakes on a mustache. Life stories is no less fascinating than the fruits of mass culture. The main thing to submit to the verifier.

Statement of the problem

It’s a trap for all the students of all the courses and directions of all majors ever. We talk a lot (and will talk) about how important a problem, but how to do it, so I couldn’t always explain.

  1. the Problem is your question you want to answer in the essay. Without perspective, the essay turns to hot air.
  2. the Problem – is debatable! You can give your answer and your classmate will offer an alternative solution! In sociology there is nothing definite, so both you and your classmate may be right. Or both of you will criticize someone else.
  3. the problem has many faces and names, so there is no established clichés of how to define the problem. There are some words that often enough there are (inequality, inequality, restriction, etc.) there is usually someone (a social group), who is out of work or terms of your issues with him something.

Let me try to give you an example.

Here, for example, did the bike route along the Boulevard ring in Moscow. This is the result of the solution to some problem. There may be themes?

Cycling and “velosipedisty Moscow” (the first initiative of citizens, the second – government program)

The interaction between cyclists and motorists (and other road users)

The concept of “city, convenient for life” {life of different groups of townspeople}

Urban trends (“in Europe, everything has been done for cyclists, we are worse than”)

The fight against traffic jams in Moscow (for machines will be less space => “and let Muscovites will ride bikes”).

Each subject their level of social acuity, so the list goes on. And what there can be problems that require research?

Inequality of participants of traffic

The problem of inconsistency of policies of the Moscow government in the field of transport planning in European standards (it is important to give the justification for such thoughts)

the list, again, you can continue

Skill in the formulation of the problem of the study is pumped through familiarization with greater and greater number of studies on various topics, as well as the development of different directions (paradigms) in sociological theory.

Sometimes scientists distinguish between overthinking and “Social problem” and “Social problem”. And ask that you do us.

In the case of social problems should be marked with some form of inequality or shows the conflict parties.

A sociological problem expresses an objective presentation of a problem situation (case) indicates a contradiction between common sense (or theoretical model) and the actual behaviour of people.

I hope you get the point.

Your situation – it is as Floriana with succulents. You can look at it from different angles, and each “line” is a new issue that you discover.

Don’t worry if you do not get the “right” to formulate the problem in an essay. Everything comes with experience. And I as a reviewer will try to correct if something was wrong.

The selection of literature

Everything is simple, because there are “mandatory” literature “more”.

Obligatory is the one which was mastered during the course and expected in a particular subject matter. For example, if you write about the city, we expect you to reference at the Chicago sociological tradition. And if you have a class conflict, the failure to mention Marx or Bourdieu – a bad tone! Well, stuff like that. Good old classic, one word.

Additional – completely your choice. Fully optional. You can not bother and base their judgments on the classical principles that you learned that were clear and available. The category of “further reading” include any fresh, whether a “new theory” (usually students don’t pay attention to the fact that the “new” in their view theory actually date back to 1970-80-ies somewhere abroad, and, most likely, in the academic world, they are not as “new”, and most modern “boom” of Western thought reach Russia through the years, so 20 years later, lol), new research on classic themes, new followers, old classics, etc.

This also can be attributed to critical areas if critical sociology is not the main for of your essay.


The mantra of good old PPO: Times New Roman 12pt (sometimes 14pt), 1.5 line spacing (sometimes single), the first line indent 1,25 cm, justified alignment (header – center).

If a job takes more than 3-4 pages (not including list liters), you need a title page. When the work is very small, it is enough to write on top of the name and group number.

This standard, incidentally, is spelled out somewhere in the Guest, i.e. all documents (not only essays and term) are made this way.

The attentive reader will notice that we forgot to discuss…

Each of you is unique. Each of you his way to explain some things. Someone brave, so bravely expresses his opinion (though not always out of place…), someone smart, but modest, and prefers to hide behind a clever quote, someone doesn’t know what to do, and in the course of the sequential reasoning to something eventually comes. It’s okay! In the end, in the framework of the essay from you do not expect mind-blowing discoveries.

How can I improve my essay:

The epigraph to the topic – it needs to be short and sound stylish. Teachers appreciate this technique! Only if it’s short, stylish and in theme.

Writing style: the abstract is meant simply, “dry” academic writing, while in an essay to turn! It is not forbidden imitation of the style of a particular writer (in this case, rather of the researcher). Try not to wallow in the metaphors.

Your reasoning! Set them the way you like! Try to explain intelligibly. You can ask rhetorical questions, just don’t overdo it. Over time you will learn to do it like they did it steep the researchers, but it is important you know where to start.

For those who have reached here, the most important life hack for today:


Such a luxury you can afford until the 3rd course because it will gain experience in writing large volumes of text.

Now it is better to stick to such a plan:

1 week to search topics

2 weeks on a literature review, reading/note-taking, search that you can use for citations and references

At least 2 days to write, plus 1 DAY for proofreading!!!!!!!!! What a shame to get interesting workbut every 2-3 paragraph to catch the eye typos____for the teacher it is a sign of laziness and nesobrannosti.

It is better to devote to writing an essay the weekend prior to the deadline, in the event that something adjusted for Monday and Tuesday. Usually the morning after a “night essay” you can look at your text with fresh eyes and identify the weed. And thus eliminate them before delivery!

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