Student Resources






Reflective Essay to accompany Senior Writing Requirement

You wrote a senior paper on a sociological or criminological topic as evidence of your basic scholarship, critical thinking, analysis and writing ability.  In this reflective essay, you are asked to integrate your experiences as a major in this department.  Your essay will be approximately 1, 250 words. More requirements and details can be found in the link below.



Senior Writing Requirement (SWR)

Department of Sociology and Criminology

Important Information for All Juniors and Seniors

Department of Sociology and Criminology Senior Writing Requirement (SWR) Guidelines

All students are required to write a senior paper in Fulbright College within their major.  If you are a student in the department you will write one senior paper.  The paper is a contract between you and a professor for a class at or above 3000 level.   If you choose to write your paper for a specific class you must contact the professor at the beginning of the semester.  Once the professor has agreed, you will have the semester to complete one of the following options below to be determined by your professor: 

  • Option One: Traditional Research paper 12 pages (not including references)
  • Option Two: multiple papers  - will require students to submit 3 mini-papers of 4 pages (for a total of 12 pages) in any given course.
  • Option Three: multiple papers -  will require students to submit 4 mini-papers of 3 pages (for a total of 12 pages) in any given course.
  • Important:  The paper if in several smaller sets (option 2 and 3),  will need to build on the first one (cumulative argument).
  • Important: The paper(s) should incorporate peer-reviewed, scholarly research to support the argument.
  • Important: The final delivery should be 12 pages in total (not including references), regardless of the option.

Note: Honors Students automatically fulfill the SWR with their Theses.  

Below are some basic guidelines, tips, and resources.  Note that your professor will provide the final template.  These are just basic guidelines.  See your professor for specific requirement:


1. Introduction  

a. What is the topic of your paper?

b. What is the thesis statement or the main question? Make sure to include it here and to make it clear to the reader.

c. You should state your intended purpose. This may be a rationale for the study.

2. Literature Review. In sociology and criminology this typically includes previous scholarly work, empirical studies and/or theoretical perspectives.

3. Methods - Description of how you went about doing your study

4. Results - data analysis section depending on the topic – analytic/theoretical/empirical

5. Discussion and Conclusion - What is the summary of your paper and what did you discover that you did not know prior to the literature review and previous works on your topic.

6. References. Tips: Once you have written your paper and made revisions, be sure to revisit the introduction and conclusion to make sure that they are consistent with each other and reflect the argument you make throughout the paper. Most criminology and sociology assignments do not rely upon personal anecdotes, experiences, or opinions as "data" to make an argument. In social sciences, topics are data or theoretically driven. This varies by assignments. If you are unsure, check with your instructor. Never turn in a paper or even a draft without having it proofed for grammar and spelling. The University of Arkansas has writing resources through the English department to assist with organization, spelling and grammar.  Below are very helpful On-line Resources with general guides on writing papers, citation, bibliographies/references  

How to Write a Sociological Research Paper - short video

Writing in the Social Sciences - pdf file

Writing for Sociology Guide Second Edition

Writing Sociology Papers by Geneseo

How To Write A Sociology Research Paper Outline: Easy Guide With Template by PapersOwl

How to cite sources by Berkeley Graduate Division


Writing Sociology A Guide for Junior Papers and Senior Theses by Rebekah P. Massengill, Ph.D.

A Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis in Sociology