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How to Write a Presentation in Sociology

Making oral academic presentations is an important part of all sociology courses. Creating a good presentation in sociology requires the ability to write with a sociology perspective. Wondering what it means? Read this article to learn about the most important characteristics of sociology writing. Making a sociology talk may seem a daunting task but here you will find an easy step-by-step writing guide that will help you write a fabulous presentation in sociology. If you have problems with writing other types of papers, check other articles on our website where you will find full writing guides to all writing assignments out there.

What Is a Presentation in Sociology?

Sociology studies human life and uses specific methods of investigation to identify social patterns and explain processes of the development and change in human societies. Students who study sociology have to complete plenty of assignments that belong to different writing genres – literature reviews, article critiques, issue analyses, topic essays, qualitative and quantitative research papers, and methodological designs. Besides, sociology students often have to write papers and deliver oral presentations on various sociology topics which can be analytical where they need to analyze and critique previous research and argumentative where they need to make an argument for specific research.

Sociology presentations, as well as other types of papers, have their specifics. Sociologists study different issues related to individuals, businesses, governments, social movements and examine phenomena such as class, gender, and race and how they influence people’s opportunities and choices. We may even say that sociology studies almost everything so it’s not the subject but a perspective that makes writings sociological. Here are the key characteristics of sociological writing:

  • Writing in sociology involves trying to understand how different groups and individuals interact with society;
  • Sociological argument needs to be clear and all claims must be supported by evidence;
  • Sociology is an empirical science and all conclusions are based on documented evidence which relies on observed patterns;
  • Sociologists use qualitative data that come from in-depth-interviews, observations, and texts and quantitative data which are based on statistics, censuses, and surveys;
  • The most effective way to enhance your argument in sociology papers is to combine both qualitative and quantitative methods.

How to Choose an Interesting Topic for a Presentation in Sociology?

As we have already mentioned, sociology studies a lot of subjects related to human life so the choice of topics for your oral presentations is practically limitless. But you should keep in mind that the topic for your talk should be narrow and focused enough to be manageable and interesting and, at the same time, it should be broad enough to find necessary information. You should use brainstorming technique to generate topic ideas and choose a topic that you are interested in. Then make a list of relevant keywords and do preliminary research.

Start your research with reading articles in an online encyclopedia to get an overview of the topic and understand how it relates to broader and narrower issues. You may want to modify your topic during the research process because you can never know what you can find. When you have found enough material, you will need to formulate your topic as a focused research question and create a working thesis statement that provides an answer to your research question. Make sure that your question is sociological and examines a social meaning or a specific pattern of a phenomenon.

Here are some interesting topic ideas for sociology presentation:

  1. Differences Between the Ethnicity and Race;
  2. Racial Segregation in Big Cities;
  3. Youth and Deviant Behavior;
  4. Extreme Sports Culture;
  5. Gender Stereotypes in Science;
  6. History of the Animal Rights Movement;
  7. Gender Inequality at Work;
  8. Causes and Effects Of Cyberbullying;
  9. Causes of the Poverty Gap;
  10. Principles of Conflict Theory;
  11. Subcultures in The United States;
  12. History of the Black Lives Matter Movement;
  13. The Phenomenon of Online Dating;
  14. Social Stratification Theory;
  15. Cults in the 21st Century.

Plan and Structure Your Presentation in Sociology

Every presentation requires careful planning. First, you should establish a purpose of your presentation and decide what outcome you expect to achieve – inform your audience, make them more interested in your topic, convince them to accept a specific point of view or persuade them to take some action. Then analyze your audience and think how you can tailor your presentation to make it more appealing to them.

Think about a working thesis statement (which is actually your key message) because it will help you conduct a research and stay focused to find enough material for your argument. When doing research, create a list of different points that can support your thesis and gather evidence, facts, and examples to illustrate those points and prove that they are right. Finally, you should decide what points you will include in your oral sociology presentation. Oral presentations are between 10-15 minutes in length so you won’t be able to cover more than 3-4 main points. Remember that you will need to have some time for an introduction and conclusion.

Revise your thesis statement to ensure that it is clear and highly specific and use it as a starting point to create an outline for your talk. It’s important that your thesis should be debatable and narrow enough to be supported with evidence. Review this thesis statement example:

‘Gender stereotypes can cause unequal and unfair treatment and present a serious obstacle to achieving real gender equality.’

Create a working outline for your presentation that will help you develop a logical structure for presenting the results of your research and analysis. Oral academic presentations may have a similar structure to written papers. You can create a traditional outline that consists of an introduction which introduces the topic and presents the research question, main body which consists of your key points supported by appropriate evidence, and conclusion which wraps up your presentation and provides suggestions for further research. Your outline may change over time as you work on your project. You may want to add new evidence or change the order of your themes.

Structuring your sociology presentation is a very important step that will help you craft your key message in a logical and simple way. Besides, in this way, you’ll help your audience keep up with you and take away your key message.

Write an Introduction

The goal of an introduction is to explain the subject and the purpose of your sociology presentation and engage your audience. First, you need to capture your audience’s attention and you can do it in a number of ways, for example, state a problem, share a personal story, tell a startling statistic, quote a famous person, ask a thought-provoking question. After that, you need to introduce yourself.

In this part of your talk, you will need to do the following things:

  • Inform about the general topic;
  • Explain your subject;
  • Tell what issues or challenges you will be discussing;
  • Explain how you will treat your topic (e.g. describe, evaluate, analyze, compare, argue): I will be comparing …;
  • State the desired outcome of your talk: I hope this will allow us …;
  • Briefly outline your main points: I will be covering 3 points ….

You should also tell your audience how long your presentation will last and what they will need to do. Tell them when they will be able to ask questions.

Write Body Paragraphs

In this part, you need to fulfill the promises that you made in the introduction. Create a list of main points that you want to make and organize them logically, for example, chronologically, by theme or priority. Address your key points one by one and add supporting evidence and examples.

  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces your main point;
  • Explain each point in a couple of sentences and support it with data, statistics, and facts;
  • End each paragraph with a concluding sentence where you summarize the content of the paragraph.

You should use appropriate links between the ideas and always inform your audience when you move to the next point. Transition words, phrases, and sentences can help other people navigate through your sociology presentation. Transitions will draw your audience’s attention to the content of your talk and to the process. Review some examples:

  • First, I will cover …
  • I’d just like to mention …
  • Moving away from a focus on …
  • A major issue is …
  • Now let’s consider …
  • This is similar to …

Write a Conclusion

A powerful conclusion is the best place to reinforce your key message and tie together all parts of your sociology presentation. It should be short and concise. In this part, you need to summarize your main points, give an overview of the information that have been discussed, and try to make a lasting impression on your audience. You should never introduce any new information here.

You can follow these steps:

  • Remind your audience about the topic and the purpose of your sociology presentation: In this talk, I wanted to analyze …;
  • Sum up the main points and tell about their implications: Let me briefly summarize …;
  • Tell what will happen next (a group discussion, questions);
  • Thank the audience for their attention.

Revise, Edit, and Proofread Your Draft

Don’t expect that the first draft of your speech will be perfect. Be ready that you may need to revise it several times. Revision is often a neglected part of the writing process but, in fact, it’s a critical step where you should reconsider your ideas and presentation structure and address the issues in the development and coherence. Revising involves making big changes while editing and proofreading means making small changes. Here is what you should do:

  • Read your presentation carefully and create a post-draft outline which can help you see if you need to make broad changes in the organization or content;
  • Identify the main ideas in all paragraphs and rank their importance. Check connections between the ideas;
  • Improve your thesis statement and restructure your argument by reordering your points, adding additional evidence, cutting redundancies or irrelevancies;
  • Improve the content in your introduction and conclusion. Make sure that every paragraph begins with a topic sentence which links ideas to the thesis statement;
  • Edit your presentation to improve style. Check word choice and eliminate wordiness; Make sure that all sentences are clear and have a proper structure. Check the use of active and passive voice;
  • Proofread your speech and fix grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes. Check the citation format.

How to Create Slides for Your Presentation in Sociology

Visual aids can support your key message in a sociology presentation and help your listeners follow along with what you are talking about. You may create PowerPoint slides to present your outline, statistics, tables, and diagrams, emphasize key points, and signal new information. If you use slides properly, they can be a powerful tool. Here are some standard tips you should follow when creating your slides:

  • Make all your slides simple and include as little information as possible on each of them;
  • Don’t put more than 6 lines of text on a slide;
  • Don’t write text in full sentences. Instead, use keywords and bullet points;
  • Use readable sans-serif fonts, for example, Verdana, Arial or Century Gothic at least 30pt or higher. Make sure that your text can be easily read from the back of the room.
  • Use color with care and avoid very bright colors;
  • Keep a strong contrast between text and background. Use a contrasting color to emphasize important points in the text;
  • Use no more than 2 relevant images per slide;
  • Make no more than 10 slides, including an intro slide that outlines your ideas and a summary slide which presents key points to remember.

Making an academic presentation in sociology doesn’t have to be a challenge. Use recommendations from our step-by-step guide and you will easily cope with this assignment. Remember that you will feel more confident if you practice your sociology presentation several times before delivery.