As the pandemic of coronavirus Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on the world and our habitual way of life, its influence on sociological issues, both in short- and in long-term perspective, is rapidly becoming a more and more important topic. If you study sociology, it is bound to come up sooner or later, and you’d better be ready for it. While sociology is not concerned with the medical implications of Covid-19, the pandemic has all kinds of effects on global society. As it is not going anywhere, we should learn to understand what it means, how to live with it and what we can do to alleviate its negative influence. Another important issue to consider is the opportunities it opens up – while the pandemic goes on, we may learn valuable lessons that can help us be better prepared so similar crises in future.
In this guide, you will find everything you need to write a high-quality essay dealing with these issues.
How to Write a Sociology Essay about Coronavirus: Preparatory Stage
1. Choosing a Topic
Although coronavirus determines the general area your essay is supposed to cover, one can view this subject from many different directions, even within the field of sociology. The important thing here is to remember that you deal primarily with how the pandemic influences the sociological aspects of our life and stay away from other issues. As the pandemic is an ongoing concern, there are many promising directions of research, and new ones will continue to present themselves. New publications on the topic appear on a daily basis, which means that you should be particularly careful not to write about something that has just been covered somewhere else. Things to consider when choosing the topic are:
- The latest information. Every day brings news about further developments related to the coronavirus. Consider them and make sure what you intend to write does not contradict what is already known to be fact;
- Sensitivity of the issue. Hundreds of thousands of people are infected with Covid-19, thousands are dead. The pandemic has dramatically influenced our lives and caused wounds that are still fresh. Consider this and avoid making statements that may be seen as offensive.
Here are some examples of what you may write about:
- Social Anxiety as a Result of Coronavirus Outbreak;
- The Ideal of Riskless Society in the Face of Coronavirus Outbreak;
- Irrational Behavior in Societies without Confirmed Coronavirus Cases;
- Social Media, Social Isolation and the Coronavirus Pandemic;
- Social and Psychological Effects of Covid-19;
- Panic Buying because of Coronavirus.
2. Writing a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is a relatively short (1 to 2 sentences, 20 to 40 words) expression of the main idea presented in your essay. It is different from both the topic and the research question: the former simply states what your essay is about, the latter asks a question you try to answer. The thesis statement states the idea you intend to prove right. For example, ‘Differences in Lethality of Coronavirus in Different Countries and their Connection with Social and Cultural Specifics of These Countries’ is a topic. ‘Why is lethality of coronavirus so much higher in Italy than it is in China and some other nations?’ is a question. ‘Lethality of coronavirus is higher in Italy than in most other nations mostly because of the greater average age of the population and higher percentage of senior citizens among the infected’.
3. Writing a Plan/Outline
In an outline, you detail how you are going to proceed with your essay. Of course, with a topic as volatile as Covid-19 and its sociological impact, by the time you get to writing per se the situation may change so much that you will have to alter your approach. However, having a plan of action will still make your job more streamlined.
A good outline contains:
- A detailed description of the introduction: how you will start your essay, what background information you have to provide, what quotes (if any) you will use, what statistics you have to mention;
- Your thesis statement. It is the core of your essay, so write it in its entirety;
- Main points you will cover in the body paragraphs. Keep it one point per paragraph;
- Evidence you will use to support your statements (quotations and where to find them, statistics, facts, etc.);
- How you will conclude your essay: what your arguments boil down to, why your research is significant, what issues remain unresolved, what further research you could suggest.
How to Write a Sociology Essay about Coronavirus: Writing Your Text
1. Write the Body Paragraphs
The primary unit of an essay is a paragraph, and it is where you should concentrate your efforts. Each paragraph should meet three requirements within itself and as a part of the text:
- Unity – it should be built around a single point or central idea. All sentences should be related to it. If you find yourself drifting away from it or introducing another point, better do it in its own paragraph;
- Coherence – all sentences of the paragraph should follow each other logically and naturally connect to each other;
- Relevance – the paragraph’s sentences should be relevant to its central point, and the paragraph itself should support the general theme and direction of the essay.
2. Pay Attention to Topic Sentences
If a paragraph is the primary unit of an essay, then the topic sentence is an anchor that keeps it in place. A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph that defines its central idea. Additionally, it serves navigational purposes – if topic sentences are well written, you can get the basic understanding of what the essay is about by reading just them, and find the necessary part in the same way.
3. Be Careful with Your Evidence
In the atmosphere of doubt, misinformation and lack of any definite knowledge about the coronavirus and its social impact, you have to be particularly strict with your evidence. The information currently available on the subject is incomplete and often lacks scientific foundation. If you use the Internet as your primary source of data, you should also be aware that it is rife with fakes – and, just like with any fundamentally new issue, there is little information sufficiently backed by authoritative experts to know what is true and what is false. This means that the usual requirements (to back up everything you say with verifiable evidence) remain valid, but you should be very careful about everything you say. Check every statement you quote. If the source quotes someone else, track the data back to its origin. Make sure its author has sufficient qualifications to speak on the topic. Stick to the sources whose authors do not have any vested interest in a biased interpretation.
4. Interpret Your Evidence
Mentioning a fact or quoting a source is not enough. You have to offer your own interpretation of the information – it is particularly important in the case of Covid-19, because we still do not have much 100 percent certain knowledge, and you are free to make almost any conclusion from the information you have.
5. Look for Potential Counter Arguments
After you finish the main part of your essay, look through it and check the new information about the coronavirus that appeared since you started writing. Have any of your suggestions been refuted? Do you feel that some of your statements are doubtful? Are there any strong counter arguments to what you said? If your opinions remain unchanged in light of new developments, address these opposing opinions either in a separate section or immediately after you make each statement.
How to Write a Sociology Essay about Coronavirus: Adding Final Touches
1. Edit Your Essay for Academic Rigor
The main concern of your editing efforts is to make sure your essay meets the academic requirements in general (i.e., those of your discipline) and in particular (those of your college/university, instructor and department). You should have received the instructions and guidelines you should follow along with the task. The details may differ from case to case, but mostly you can boil this stage of editing to answering three questions:
- What did I try to do and say and did I manage to do it? Check if you had a clear intention from the very beginning and followed it throughout your essay.
- Does my essay have a clear-cut and straightforward line of logical reasoning going through it? Is its overall structure logical? Do parts follow each other in a reasonable order? Are there any gaps in your logic?
- Why should the reader believe it? Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time reader of your essay and ask yourself if what you say is persuasive.
Go through your essay while paying attention to these three aspects and make the changes necessary to give favorable answers to these questions.
2. Eliminate Redundancies
It is often said that the true art of writing is not in adding the necessary but in removing the superfluous. You should be ready to eliminate a word, sentence or an entire passage if it does not move your argument forward even if you are particularly proud of your turn of phrase. It is especially important when you have to meet a certain word limit. Usually it is counter-productive to keep the word limit in mind while you are writing, as it will stifle your creativity. However, you should learn how to reduce the number of words as you edit. Some things you can do are:
- Avoid using unnecessary words (‘can’ instead of ‘has the ability to’, ‘consider’ instead of ‘take into consideration’);
- Use active instead of passive voice;
- Remove ‘weasel words’. In addition to making your language shorter and crispier, it has an added benefit of eliminating the sense of vagueness.
3. Edit for Consistency
Even relatively small assignments like essays often have problems with consistency, especially if you do not write them in one go. Consistency may refer to various things, including but not limited to:
- Use of the same (usually the third) person except for places where you specifically decide to use a different one;
- Use of the citation and reference style (reread the guidelines and make sure you follow them);
- Use of the same tense throughout the essay;
- Consistent (although not necessarily equal) paragraph sizes;
- The same language and style used throughout the essay.
4. Check Linking
Individual sections of the paper (in this case, paragraphs) should logically connect to each other. On a larger scale it is achieved by arranging them in a way that makes it natural to discuss subsequent points after the preceding ones (e.g., you mention that different societies have vastly different reactions to coronavirus outbreak, and then discuss why this is the case). On a smaller scale, you should use transition words and expressions at the ends or beginnings of paragraphs (e.g., ‘therefore’, ‘thus’, ‘however’, ‘consequently’ etc.)
Proofreading should come last, as it is concerned with small and individual matters that are unlikely to lead to significant changes in the structure of the essay. Do not just reread the text trying to spot mistakes. There are several tricks that can help you:
- Make a list of your common mistakes. You know best what you have problems with;
- Reread the essay several times, each time paying attention to a specific type of mistakes;
- Reread it backwards, one sentence at a time. This will help you abstract yourself from the contents and focus on the form.
6. Be Wary of Editing Fatigue
There inevitably comes a time when you are no longer capable of being critical of your own work. You tend to skip over parts of the text, miss the line or reasoning, etc. Recognize when it happens and, if possible, set editing aside for a while. It is better to do it in a series of short concentrated efforts.
We hope that this guide will help you write an excellent essay on this important topic!