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Sociology Dissertation

The sociology dissertation is an in-depth and original discussion of a doctoral candidate's sociology research. It is required to satisfy the requirements of a doctorate in sociology and is usually written after all coursework is completed and a research study has been carried out.

Prior to writing the sociology dissertation, the candidate will conduct research in a major subject area of interest. This research must focus on a specific question, or hypothesis, which the candidate will answer and discuss. The key to an effective research topic is to define a narrow, specific research question that can be effectively explored in the sociology dissertation, yet displays the candidate's extensive comprehension of the wider field of sociology. This research may be qualitative or quantitative, though quantitative research that exposes social interaction to the rigors of statistical analysis and empirical investigation has been highly regarded in recent years.

The candidate defines an appropriate sociology dissertation topic by choosing a subset of the sociology discipline, such as the study of deviant behavior. Within this subset, the candidate narrows the focus until a unique and original topic is defined. Deviant behavior, for instance, could be narrowed to terrorism, which could further be narrowed to a specific terrorist group, or a comparison of the methods and effects of several related terrorist actions.

Sociology dissertations follow the standard format of all doctoral dissertations, and generally consist of five major sections: introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and discussion. The candidate states the dissertation's central question, or hypothesis, in the introduction, and briefly describes the research done and conclusion reached. In the literature review, the candidate lists and discusses previously published articles and sociology dissertations on related topics and explains how they relate to the candidate's own dissertation topic.

In the methodology section, the candidate describes the research methods used. In the results section, the candidate notes the results of this research. In the discussion section, the candidate draws conclusions based on these results, including whether they prove or disprove the candidate's hypothesis. The candidate also relates the narrow topic of his or her research to the broader field, and suggests potential related hypothesis that might be tested in future sociology dissertations.