Application Assignment (Essay)

Chapter 1 describes the Sociological Imagination, or the connection between the micro perspective and macro perspective. The micro perspective is the experience of a single individual. C. Wright Mills also referred to the micro perspective as a “personal trouble”. The macro perspective, also called “public issues”, is the collection of hundreds or thousands or millions of individual experiences. While a clinical psychologist who meets with a client might be more interested in the micro perspective (a single person’s experience), sociologists examine patterns and trends of groups or society as a whole, which is the macro perspective. We can use these two vantage points to examine various issues around us and the Sociological Imagination is the INTERSECTION between the two. In other words, where does the individual fit in the landscape of society?

The purpose of this assignment is to examine one topic through both of these perspectives in order to demonstrate the Sociological Imagination.

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Make sure you review Chapter 1 and Ch 2 as well as the Power Point notes and videos prior to completing this essay.

Step 1: Choose a topic

Choose a topic that you have experienced as a “personal trouble”. You may want to refer to the list of social topics provided below to drum up ideas.

Please note: Other students in the class will be able to read what you’ve written, so choose a topic that you feel comfortable sharing.

Examples of social topics (you are not limited to this list):

Bullying Poverty Having a religious practice

Parenting Sickness or medical problem Educational attainment

Unemployment Natural disaster Discrimination or inequality

Migrating to another country Homelessness Marriage or Divorce

“Run in” with the criminal justice system Foster care Victim of a crime

Step 2: Become familiar with the possible sources and choose one

In order to write about the macro perspective, we will need some “big data”. The organizations below collect data at the society-level. Browse the data sets using the websites below for the topic that you have selected in order to make sure that information is available for it.

PEW collects data from a nationally representative sample of Americans on social issues. They have been collecting information about behaviors and opinions for over 40 years.
PEW Research Center: Go to “Topics” to search for yours.

b. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control are governmental organizations. The Census Bureau publishes data collected from the Census, which is the largest survey in America that attempts to include everyone in the entire country every 10 years.

U.S. Census Bureau: Go to “Topics” to search for yours.

c. The CDC collects health information, which comes from all doctors’ offices and hospitals across the United States.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s Data and Statistics Division:

Step 3: Write the essay

Once you have chosen a topic and verified that at least one of the possible sources contains data about that topic, you can begin writing the essay. While incorporating our course concepts (see note* below for more details), write a one-page essay that addresses the following objectives:

Paragraph 1: Describe the micro perspective. What is your personal experience/history with this topic? In this paragraph, you are only describing your experience so no outside data or references are needed.

Paragraph 2: Describe the macro perspective. What are the sociological trends and patterns of this topic? How many people experience/are affected by this topic? In this paragraph, we need to rely on data sources so incorporate what you have found from PEW, Census, or CDC and be sure to include in-text citations as well as a bibliography.

*Important Note About Incorporating Course Concepts: Because I use these assignments to evaluate your learning of our course materials, it is imperative that you include at least 5 terms or concepts from the chapters associated with this assignment. You can incorporate them anywhere within the paper. Define, explain, apply these terms in a way that demonstrates your understanding of the chapter material. Be sure to include in-text citations each time that you refer to the textbook.

All essays should be considered college-level writing. Apply all principles of grammar and ethics in your writing. Include in-text citations whenever you quote from or paraphrase an outside source. Include a bibliography of sources in ASA citation format at the bottom on your entry.

you are choosing a topic that you have personal experience with. You will write your story. For example, if you chose the topic of divorce, you would write about your experiences with divorce in your family. This is the micro perspective and it should be one paragraph long. Then, you will “think big” and use the sources listed to understand the larger impact of this topic, i.e. how many divorces happen in the United States? Or, alternatively, what are people’s opinions about divorce across our society? This is the macro perspective and it should be about one paragraph long. Together, these two concepts are called the Sociological Imagination.

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