Social Science Writing
Writing in the social sciences can be a challenge for students who are more familiar with writing (and research) in the humanities. If social science is new to you, you may need to learn how to:
- Take an idea and figure out how you’re going to measure it – that is called “operationalize a construct”
- Design and describe the statistical portion of a research study
- Write a literature review
- Learn what goes into the conventional sections of a social science paper (e.g. methods, findings, discussion)
- Learn the conventions of APA style and documentation
Things to Think About Before You Begin
After you have determined the type of research design you will use, but before you sit down and begin to organize your paper, there are few things you should consider doing that will help make the process of writing go much smoother.
Make a Schedule
Drafting a schedule and noting deadlines on your personal calendar should be your first step to writing a research paper. Create a schedule based on your own sense of how much time you think you will need to contemplate, research, organize, and write a paper based on its length and familiarity with the general topic. A helpful strategy is to work backwards from when the final paper is due.
Choose specific dates of important steps along the way but focus on setting realistic goals, and then stick to them! Make sure to give yourself enough time to find out what resources are available to you [including meeting with a librarian, if needed!], to identify a research problem to investigate, to select and read relevant research literature, to outline your paper, to organize the information you are going to cite in your paper, and to write your first and final drafts [as well as any necessary steps in between]. Developing a personal assignment calendar will also help you manage your time in relation to work assigned in other classes.
Analyze the Assignment
Carefully analyze the assignment to determine what you are specifically being asked to do. Look for key terms, topics, subject areas, and/or issues that can help you develop a research problem that interests you. Be sure that you understand the type of paper you are being asked to write. Research papers discuss a topic in depth and cite to credible sources that contain evidence that supports your particular perspective. However, there are many different ways this process can be achieved.
The way in which your professor may ask you to frame your analysis can include any of the following approaches:
- Case study approach— explain the implications and unique characteristics of a complex research problem using a single bounded unit of analysis that illuminates key issues about the problem [e.g., an organization, behavior of doctors in an emergency room, a supreme court ruling, an event].
- Comparison approach— compare and contrast two ideas, constructs, or tangible things with one another.
- Definition approach— discuss in depth the cultural and associative meanings of, for example, a political theory, a policy proposal, or a controversial practice.
- Descriptive approach— choose a subject that you know well and help others to understand it.
- Evaluative approach— assess a theoretical concept, issue, person, place, or thing in a critical way.
- Exploratory approach— pursue a specific line of inquiry, often with the purpose of making recommendations for further research or to advocate and provide evidence for specific actions to be taken.
- Interpretive approach— apply the theoretical knowledge gained in your coursework to a particular research problem, such as, a business situation in a management course or a psychological case profile.
- Narrative approach— write from an experiential point of view, usually your own and written in the first person.
- Persuasive approach— take a position in a scholarly debate and give the reader reasons based on existing evidence why they should agree with your position.
- Policy memorandum approach— write short factual sentences devoid of emotion that summarize a situation to date, identify the main issue of concern, provide a breakdown of the elements of this main issue, and then recommend how to address the issue based on research about the Social Sciences topic.
NOTE: If for any reason you are unclear or confused about any aspect of the assignment, request clarification from your professor as soon as possible. Faculty are required to hold office hours to meet with students. Take advantage of this. Professors will not accept the excuse that, “I didn’t understand the assignment” if you end up being upset about the grade you receive.
We write Postgraduate Dissertations, Undergraduate Thesis, Project Reports, Case Studies, DBA Research Proposals and Research Papers on Social Sciences with Harvard, APA or MLA Referencing Style and they contain
- Abstract and Introduction
- Research Methodology
- Discussion and Conclusion
- Literature Review
- Data Analysis
- Survey Questionnaire
- and Conclusion