Journal Exercise

For many of us, one of the most interesting and fun aspects of studying sociology is how relevant the discipline is to our everyday lives. This is even true of the methods we use to study sociology. Hardly a day goes by without reading or hearing about research that can help explain our lives.

For example, we are learning that life expectancy in the U.S. is on the decline, which may seem counter-intuitive. After all, we are the richest nation on earth with excellent medical care improved by constantly improving technological discoveries. Misunderstanding life expectancy is generally on the decline may lead to misconceptions on general limits of medicine and science. But, when we look a little deeper at studies of life expectancy, we learn that for the wealthiest Americans, life expectancy is on the rise, while for those with the lowest socio-economic status (SES), it is on the decline. Since there are more people of lower SES than the highest, the overall rate is pushed downward.

This is one example of how we can make better sense of commonly-held information, if we just look a little deeper to get a sense of SOCIAL forces that influence these kinds of outcomes.

After completing the reading for Chapter 2, describe beliefs about a social issue  that we believe to be true but is actually untrue, misknown, or understood incompletely. (HINTS: Consider homelessness, unemployment, poverty, immigration, etc.).

THIS IS A BIT OF AN ABSTRACT ASSIGNMENT.  Critically consider the assignment but don’t overthink it. The goal is to get you to think about how and what sociological research methods might be used to explore the subject you choose.

Include 1) a description of the information, 2) how you think that information was created, 3) your reaction to that information/partial or total misconception, and 4) what kind of sociological research method might be used to improve and deepen our understanding of this information.  (Pay special attention to item 4).


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