Each student in SOC 311 will be writing two "Critiques" over the course of the semester.


ASSIGNMENT: Each critique is based on one of the optional readings which appear under one of the topics on the reading list. You may not critique more than one reading which appears under a given topic. Topic 11, Professional and Managerial Work, is the last topic on which critiques may be written. Please choose the articles you critique carefully. Some articles on the reading list are quite brief (only two pages or so) and will not provide enough material for a good critique. Every student must complete at least one critque by October 20 (i.e. must write a critique on a topic with due date of October 20 or earlier).

STYLE: Critiques must be typed, double-spaced, with arial 12 point font and with a 1 1/2 inch margin on the left side. Two to three pages is the prescribed length with an additional blank page attached at the back and a title page at the front that includes the title of the article being critiqued but DOES NOT include your name. Critiques which exceed this length will not be accepted. Quotations, ideas which are not your own, and facts which are not common knowledge must be given full citations (including page numbers) so that the reader can distinguish between the thoughts of the student and the thoughts of the author the student is critiquing. Please see the format and style section of the course home page and make sure that your work conforms to that style. Papers with improper citations will be returned to the student for correction with a 20% reduction in grade. Critiques must be submitted on paper and also e-mailed to the instructor as an attachment in Microsoft Word format.

CONTENT: Each critique must discuss four issues. First, what is the central hypothesis of the article or what is the principal question which it examines? Second, what methodology does the author use to test the hypothesis or examine the issue? For this purpose, using graphs is not a methodology, it is a means of presentation. Nor is using data a methodology. The methodology consists of how the data are analyzed. Third, do you agree with the author's conclusions and why or why not? Fourth, identify a different (preferably better) methodology to test the same hypothesis or answer the same question.? For purposes of this issue, increasing the sample size or getting a more recent sample do not constitute alternative methods of answering the question. On the last two points, you must explain the reasons for your conclusions.

EVALUATION: Critiques are evaluated on the basis of their style, their coverage of the topic, and their use of logic and creativity in fashioning an answer. Creativity is particularly important. The critiques will not be "right" or "wrong." They only show more (or less) understanding of the reading being critiqued, they are more (or less) logical and they are more (or less) original. The rubric on the course home page contains specific information about these issues.

DUE DATES: Critiques are due AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS on the appropriate date, which is approximately one week after we finish dealing with that topic in class. LATE CRITIQUES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you are uncertain as to when a particular set of critiques will be due, check with the instructor.


Topic Critique Due Date
Historical Background September 22
Conceptual Background September 29
The New Workplace October 6
Technology on the Job October 13
Workers, Wages and Inequality October 20
Race and Gender at Work October 27
Immigration and Globalization November 8
Industrial Work November 10
Service Work November 17
Professional and Managerial Work November 22
Care Work December 6