Sociology 235: Writing Instructions


Please follow these instructions carefully. Points will be deducted from your written assignment for failure to do so.

  • The paper should be no more than 5 pages in length, typed, double-spaced.
  • The paper should have 1" margins all around.
  • The type font should be Times New Roman, size 12.
  • All text other than references should be double-spaced; type references in single space.
  • All pages except the first page should be numbered (center, bottom).
  • The references should be listed on a separate page from the text. These can be listed on Page #6.
  • Be aware that some professional publications will not allow the use of personal pronouns. Almost all sociology journals do allow the use of personal pronouns. Because the written assignments here ask for your personal opinions, feel free to use the pronouns "I" and "me."

This Rubric describes how the paper will be graded.

Suggestions for Organizing the Written Assignment
  • Begin with an introductory paragraph that describes the social problem and why it is important.
      Example: Poverty is a major social problem in America because
  • Summarize the information of each article in a paragraph.
      Example: Joe Smoe found in his study of poverty that
      Example: The rise of homeless due to poverty has increased, reported The Sappville Tribune
  • Use a couple of paragraphs to interpret the social problem from a sociological perspective.
      Example: I will use the Structure-Functional perspective to explain poverty as
  • Suggest a social policy to mitigate the negative consequences of your social problem in a couple paragraphs.
      Example: The implementation of (blank social policy) can greatly reduce poverty by
  • End with a conclusive paragraph that summarizes what you wrote.
      Example: Although poverty is a problem faced by many Americans, research indicates that implementing (blank social policy) could significantly reduce poverty by
Citations and References

Use this style for citations placed within the text:
  • For one or two authors use all names.
    • Sapp (2001) found that....
    • A recent study (Sapp and Korsching, 2004) suggested that...
  • For more than two authors, use the name of the first author and "et al."
    • Smith et al. (2003) found that....
    • A recent study (Smith et al., 2003) suggested that...
Use this style for references:
  • Sapp, S.G. and P.F. Korsching. 2004. This Is a Book. Ames, IA: Vanity Press.
  • Smith, I.M., S.G. Sapp, P.F. Korsching, and U.R. Stuck. 2003. This is a research article in a magazine or journal. Name of Journal, 10: 23-46. [The first number is the volume, followed by the page numbers.]
  • Sapp, S.G. 2001. This is a chapter in a book. Pp. 132-167 in, Smith, I.M., Title of the Book. New York, NY: Free Press.
  • Sapp, S.G. 2003. This is an article posted on a web site. Title or Name of the Web Site. http://www.webpage.html.

Be careful to avoid plagiarism. Direct quotations should be placed in quotation marks; indent lengthy quotations. All text that paraphrases the work of someone else should list the source as a citation. Students should not share their papers with other students. Each paper should be unique. Ask Dr. Sapp for advice if you have questions.

Technical Writing

You will receive significant point deductions on your paper for poor quality writing. I suggest learning the basics of good technical writing by visiting Iowa State University's Writing and Media Help Center or use the online resources listed below. I strongly suggest following the directions provided on the Tips for Technical Writing web page.

Helpful Web Sites

These web sites provide extensive on-line lessons in technical writing: These sites provide quick references to common mistakes made in technical writing:


Please submit your written assignment as paper copy and in electronic format.

Paper Submission
  • Submit a paper copy of your assignment by giving it to Ms. Kao or placing it in her mailbox in Room 101 East Hall.
  • The written assignment should be submitted prior to the due date. Late submissions will be penalized according to the time overdue. Expect a minimum of 5 points deduction for a late paper.
  • There is no need to package your paper in covers or folders. Simply staple it in the upper left corner.
Electronic Submission
  • Submit your paper to Ms. Kao in Microsoft Word format for the IBM-compatible computer (pc).
  • The file name for the electronic submission should be in the form: LastName.Assignment. For example, Dr. Sapp would name his file: Sapp.Paper.
  • The electronic version of your written assignment should be submitted by email to Ms. Kao (