How to get started on a sociology essay

  1. Are you clear about what the question is asking? If you’re uncertain about what the terms mean or how they fit together then it’ll be difficult to know how to start writing. Try and clarify issues like these before you start planning the essay.
  2. Try getting everything you think about the topic down on paper before you start working on the essay. Don’t self-censor, just write down everything that comes to mind in relation to the question. Try doing this with pen and paper or with a whiteboard if you have access to one. Afterwards think about how these points fit together & hopefully the structure of the essay will become a little clearer.
  3. If you’re struggling with expressing yourself in writing, find someone else from the module to discuss the question with. If you’re able to discuss the topic then you’re able to write about it, even if talking about it comes more easily than writing. You could even try recording the conversation to play back when you’re planning the essay.
  4. Is there a particular point you want to make? Even if it’s just one small thing, finding an argument you’re committed to making can help give you a route into writing the essay.
  5. Don’t feel you need to write in a linear way from start to finish. If there are particular points you want to make then try writing these as individual fragments. It’s probably easier to start with the aspects of the essay that are clearest to you. If you are able to write a few hundred words each for two or three points that you want to make then you’ll have made a good start on the essay. Try combining the fragments at this stage and then start thinking about the essay as a whole piece of writing.
  6. Writing introductions can be hard! If you’re struggling with this then just move straight on to the main body of the essay and go back to write the introduction once you’ve got a big chunk of the essay written. This makes it easier to know what you’re introducing exactly.

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