Introduction to the Special Issue, 10.2

Writing Sociology

by Guest Editor Emily Tingle

As you open this special issue and dive into its contents, you might first ask yourself why a special issue is needed and why one on writing from Introduction to Sociology classes. You might think to yourself, “Why intro students? Most are not even sociology majors!” This is precisely why I sought to put together a special issue. Recent events have brought sociology into the public consciousness, yet many do not know what happens in sociology classrooms or why sociology is important for students from a variety of majors. This special issue had two goals: (1) to pull back the curtain on what students are writing and critically thinking about and (2) to demonstrate how writing is a key tool for students to engage closely with texts, construct an analysis, and effectively communicate those ideas from their heads to the page while maintaining their own voice. Constructing a special issue allows students to further practice the writing process through blinded peer review feedback, further revision, and the reward of publication. Finally, publishing students’ writing also gives them a voice in shaping what sociology classes are all about through a bottom-up perspective.  

So, why focus on intro students? Intro to Sociology classes, though often overlooked, may be some of the most important work we do. Many of our students may not go on to be professional sociologists, but they can apply a sociological analytic lens and critical thinking to their fields of choice. One of the main benefits of sociology as a field for completing a required elective is the vast array of subfields allowing students to engage in sociological thinking closer to home. A range of topics and students’ creativity is featured in this issue from one student connecting his experiences shadowing doctors to others performing mini-content analyses on popular TV shows and challenging what was not covered in current academic research. 

Statement on the Importance of the Writing Intensive Program for Sociology Students from Dr. James Coverdill and Dr. Dawn Robinson

For several years, we’ve eagerly anticipated integrating our Honors Introductory Sociology courses into the Writing Intensive Program. Why the enthusiasm? Well, let’s dive into it! First, writing serves as a dynamic platform for students to unpack intricate sociological concepts and theories, showcasing their grasp of the subject matter while flexing their critical thinking muscles. It’s not just about regurgitating information; it’s about dissecting societal phenomena, applying diverse sociological lenses, and fostering a profound connection with the course material. Second, improving writing skills hones essential communication abilities vital for both academic excellence and professional prowess. With polished writing chops, students can articulate their ideas with clarity and conviction, wielding the power to sway minds and spark meaningful discourse. And third, writing isn’t a one-way street: it’s a journey of self-discovery and intellectual growth. By putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), students embark on a voyage of self-reflection, refining their arguments and engaging in thought-provoking dialogues with their peers. Ultimately, nurturing writing proficiency in introductory sociology empowers students to navigate the intricate tapestry of the social world with insight, precision, and confidence. We’re thus delighted to collaborate with the Writing Intensive Program as we embark on a sociological odyssey!