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SOC201 - Yang

Sociological Practice

SOC201 - Thinking Sociologically - Yang

This Course Guide has been designed to assist you in research and synthetic writing as you prepare to write your literature review.

For additional assistance, feel free at any time to use our Ask Us Anything chat or email reference service, or sign up for our research consultation service. Or, if you have questions, please contact Prof. Christy Fic (cmfic@ship.edu).

Synthetic Writing

A literature review is not the same as a research paper. Key Points to Consider:

  • The purpose of a literature review is to report the current state of the topic. Literature reviewed should be relatively current (generally 5-10 years old).
  • Organize your paper according to themes. It may be helpful to make each theme a subheading in your paper. Your subheadings should be broad enough so that you can bring multiple articles into the discussion.
  • All works cited must be both in the text of the literature review and the bibliography
  • Avoid passive voice (ex: It was found that...); Use active voice ("Smith (2013) reported that...")
  • Report what the literature says, not what you think

The point of a literature review is to synthesize the research of others without making a new argument or scholarly contribution.

A literature review is also not an annotated bibliography. You should not write about each study you are reviewing in turn-- instead write synthetically to highlight the current state of the literature.


Pick a topic that is interesting to you and write a literature review about this topic. Minimally 8 research journal articles should be cited in this assignment.

This assignment will be divided into three parts. It is designed for you to practice literature review writing skills and gain an in-depth understanding about one particular social issue by exploring existing research findings in that area.

I. Topic & Reference list: 5 points  

The topic has to be sociological, and the references should be peer-reviewed journal articles.

II. Introduction and Literature Review: 10 points

a.  One page introduction: description of the issue you want to study. Why it is important to study this topic.
b.  The literature review part needs to be at least 5 pages long. This part should be organized into 4-5 themes.

III. Cover page, abstract, and Conclusion (one page for each component, and 3 pages total): 5 points

a. Cover page should include information like the topic, your name, class information, and the date.
b.  Abstract needs to be around 150 words long. It serves the purpose of highlighting the key discussions of this paper. Too short or too long will result in point deduction.
c.  Conclusion can be half page to one page long. In this part, you summarize the key findings, discuss the implications, and identify directions for future research.