Your paper should be at minimum 750 words in length for each part for a total of 1,500 words. Support your essay with several specific examples from the text and if you wish, outside sources (they must be credible- please do not use Wikipedia, for example or someone’s blog simply based on opinion; what you want from outside sources are things like scientific studies from a site like the American Sociological Association or some other organization that produces data based on scientific polls or studies, like the Gallup Poll). You do not need an introduction, conclusion, or bibliography- just dive in and answer the questions, labeling your post, Part 1 and Part 2. Please use in-text citations (for example, when citing information from your text, please cite the page number after you discuss that information and if you are citing outside sources, list the website, article or book from where you found the information). Please remember your grade for this assignment is based on your integration of facts, concepts, and applying them to an issue of your choice. It is not intended to be a persuasive essay based on opinion, so think facts, not personal opinion as you are writing. If you want to include your personal opinion of the issue, please do so at the end of your essay to ensure you are satisfying the assignment requirements.
Part 1 (minimum 750 words): Compare and contrast the four main sociological theories and provide an explanation of the unique contribution each theory makes to sociology. Discuss one issue of your choice (economic inequality or media influence, for example) from the perspective of all four sociological theories. In order to show how each theoretical perspective contributes to the understanding of social life, you must apply the same issue to all four perspectives and show how each theory can further our understanding of that particular issue (i.e., you cannot discuss a different issue for each theory). For example, if you chose economic inequality, you would discuss how functionalist theory would explain that issue, how conflict theory would explain it, how symbolic interactionism would explain it, and how feminist theory would explain it. After demonstrating how the insights of each theoretical perspective can be applied to your chosen issue, select the theory you think best explains it and why.
Part 2 (minimum 750 words): What are the strengths and weaknesses of the following four research methods as described in your text: participation observation, experiments, surveys, and the analysis of existing documents/statistics? Select the method you think is best suited to sociological research in general, and why. Also, discuss which method you would use to study the issue you selected to answer the theory application question for Part 1, and why that method is the most suitable for getting data about your topic.