HOW TO WRITE A PAPER
1) The introductory paragraph should introduce the thesis of the paper and produce a summary of the main points of the paper.
2) Each subsequent paragraph should begin with a thesis sentence. The thesis sentence states what the paragraph will be about. Each sentence following the first sentence should relate to the thesis sentence. It is the author's job to make the connection for the reader about how the sentence relates to the thesis sentence. DO NOT STICK ALL KINDS OF INFORMATION INTO A PARAGRAPH AND EXPECT THE READER TO ORGANIZE THE INFORMATION FOR YOU. Your job as a writer is to make all the connections clear and logical.
1) You should not write any paper in a question/answer format. Even if you are supposed to address certain points throughout the paper, you should do so in an essay form. Thus, do not say, "then I asked the person this, and they answered that."
2) Each paper should consist of sociological concepts that you apply within the paper in order to understand the information that you have gathered. In order to do so effectively, follow these three steps: a) Define the sociological concept b) Explain how the concept is relevant to the purpose of the paper c) provide evidence of how the concept relates to the purpose of the paper.
Let's say, for example, you are writing a paper about satisfaction. You can write a paragraph like the following:
(Thesis sentence) Joey Doey was very satisfied with the extrinsic rewards she received at work. (Define concept) Extrinsic rewards are material benefits that employees receive on the job. (Explain relevance) Joey claimed that the pay and retirement package were what attracted her to the position at Kegan Law Firm. (Provide evidence) She said, "I never would have accepted the position there if they had not offered me twice the salary other firms were offering."
3) All the papers should be based on evidence, NOT OPINION OR MORALITY. Keep all your opinions to yourself. Also, do not write about your beliefs. For instance, if people tell you that they are satisfied with the job, but you think that they are not, you must either provide evidence about this contradiction or not bring it up at all. Don't say something like the following: "The claims adjusters claimed to be satisfied at the Kegan insurance company, but I believe that they are not. How could they be working 80 hours a week?"
1) If you are quoting, you must put the quote within a sentence. It cannot freefloat within your paper. This is true regardless if the quote is by someone you have interviewed or is from a text. Thus, a quote should look like:
a) Kanter (1998: 198) argued that "tokens have much more performance pressure than other groups."
b) Tony admitted that he hated his job. He said, "The bosses in my company suck big time."
1 ) ALWAYS KEEP VERB TENSES CONSISTENT. THUS, IF YOU BEGIN YOUR PAPER IN THE PAST TENSE, KEEP ALL SUBSEQUENT SENTENCES IN THE PAST TENSE. THERE ARE VERY FEW INSTANCES IN WHICH YOU SHOULD CHANGE VERB TENSES. SO TO BE SAFE, KEEP ALL VERB TENSES EITHER IN PRESENT OR PAST TENSE.
8) DO NOT USE UNQUALIFIED PRONOUNS. PRONOUNS CAN BE USED TO DESCRIBE NOUNS OR TO REPLACE NOUNS. THEY ARE WORDS LIKE "THIS" OR "SHE" OR "THAT." MOST PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO USE PRONOUNS CORRECTLY. SO WHEN PRONOUNS ARE USED, THE READER HAS NO IDEA TO WHAT THEY ARE REFERRING. TO BE SAFE, DON'T USE PRONOUNS UNLESS YOU ARE SURE THAT THEY ARE QUALIFYING SOMETHING.
1) Bibliography should be in the following format:
Acker, Joan, "Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations." Gender and Society. Vol. 4, no. 2, June: 139-158, 1990
Acker, Joan. Doing Comparable Worth: Gender, Class and Pay Equity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.
Balbo, Laura, "The Servicing Work of Women and the Capitalist State,: in Maurice Zeitlin (ed.), Political Power and Social Theory. vol 3. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, pp. 251-270, 1982.
1) When citing information in the body of your paper, do so using the following format:
More people today are dying of cancer than at any other point in history (Shmook 1998). In fact, Keller claims that "cancer far exceeds other causes of death in the United States" (1997:234).