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What does writing for the social sciences entail? Katharine Betts, Karen Farquharson and Anne Seitz, introducing their guide Writing Essays and Research Reports in the Social Sciences, describe the range of topics and approaches: “In the social sciences, topics may relate directly to social and political life itself and ask questions about, for example, power relations within families, or the origins of social movements, or the causes of inequality between nations, or of unemployment, or of immigration. Other kinds of topics ask you to write about the theories that have been developed to explain that social and political reality. What did Touraine write about social movements or Parkin about class and status groups? The wording of the actual question can vary. You may be asked to ‘outline,’ ‘discuss,’ ‘explain,’ ‘compare and contrast,’ ‘account for’ or ‘critically assess.’ But in spite of this variation in the way they are expressed, most questions can be understood as variations on four basic themes: description, analysis, explanation and evaluation” (7).
Betts, Katharine, Karen Farquharson and Anne Seitz. Writing Essays and Research Reports in the Social Sciences. 3rd edition. Melbourne: Thomson Australia, 2005.
Consult the Dalhousie Libraries Subject Guides for the Social Sciences. They include guides for:
Black Canadian Studies
Data for the Social Sciences
Gender & Women's Studies
International Development Studies
Latin American Politics
Latin American Studies
Middle Eastern Studies
Sociology and Social Anthropology
SUST 1000 / SUST 1001