sociology writing

Topical Essay Guidelines

You will prepare a topical essay.  Your essay must be based on at least one academic peer-reviewed research article, one alternative source of data (Eg., government statistics), and at least one mass media article (newspaper, magazine, etc.) regarding the same aging or age-related issue.

For the academic article, you must copy/paste the title page/abstract of each article into your document at the end of your report.  For the alternative data source and the mass media article, you must provide url links at the end of your report.


For the academic article (s), you must address the following in about a page: 

1. Describe the research question/hypothesis under investigation. 

2. Which of the frameworks or theoretical perspectives in the sociology of aging is the author using? You need to be explicit about WHY you think the theoretical model used in the paper is drawn from one of those discussed in the text. 

3. Briefly describe the sample and the research design/type of data. What were the major findings?  What were the author’s conclusions? 


In your essay, you must provide a critique of the article: What do YOU think of the quality of the research reported?  Do you think the author’s reported theoretical findings are a valid interpretation of the data (why/not)?  

What alternative theoretical perspective might you take? 

How do your alternative source(s) of data compare to the findings in the article?  

How does your “popular” (mass media) report on the issue compare?  Are thefinding/assertions the same?  

What do the reports contribute to your understanding of social aging? 

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