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Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to Sociology SYG 2000

Fall 2007

Meets: Th 6:00-8:45

Bldg 51/1103 

David Jaffee

Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Studies/Professor of Sociology

Office: Building 1/Room: 1220/ Office of Undergraduate Studies

Phone: 620-2700

Office Hours: The two hours before class and by appointment (I am on campus every day from 8-4).

Email: djaffee@unf.edu 

Introduction to Sociology is designed to introduce students to the sociological perspectives and methods of analysis used to understand and interpret human behavior, social life, social organization, and social change.   


  • Develop a sociological imagination that connects personal experiences to larger social forces
  • Develop the ability to critically analyze social arrangements
  • Develop the ability to articulate and apply, in verbal and written form, sociological concepts and theories
  • Distinguish the sociological perspective from other ways of knowing 

This course is included in the General Education program and meets the ��Social Science A�� General Education requirement for an Introductory Social Science course. The course will provide opportunities, through in-class and out-of-class learning activities, to develop the following General Education student learning outcomes: 

Skills: Think critically, reason soundly, and argue effectively, as demonstrated by the ability to:

  • analyze arguments according to standard criteria
  • assume and defend a position on a given topic
  • use systematic processes, including the collection and analysis of evidence, to form and support conclusions
  • read and analyze complex texts, including the analysis of rhetorical devices and modes of inference

Knowledge of the social, political, economic, and psychological world,

  • demonstrating a general knowledge of scholarly understanding of the range of social, political, geopolitical, and economic organization
  • demonstrating a general understanding of human development, behavior, and health
  • demonstrating a general knowledge of the methods and traditions of analysis in the social sciences

Values and ethical reflection:

  • developing the habit of reflecting on their own values and fulfilling their ethical and civic responsibilities

HOW WE WILL LEARN: The learning process requires active engagement with theories, issues, and problems rather than simply the passive reception and short-term digestion of lecture and reading material. Therefore, a large part of the course will include the following activities:

  • application of theories and concepts to real life problems and situations
  • classroom discussion
  • classroom problem solving and writing exercises
  • sharing of ideas and information/collaborative group work

CLASS POLICIES:    The classroom is a social institution and a learning community. Therefore, there are norms and modes of civility that must be followed. In order for us to meet our mutual obligations and expectations, the following guidelines will be adhered to:

  • I and you will attend all class sessions
  • I and you will arrive to class on time 
  • I and you will turn off all electronic communication devices (cell phones and laptops)
  • I and you will not sleep, read, or talk while others have the floor
  • I and you will follow all policies on academic honesty and not engage in cheating or plagiarism
  • I and you will treat all members of the class with courtesy and respect

Violations of all or some of the above will have a negative impact on your final grade. 



The book for this class is the following slender and relatively cheap introductory sociology text:

Jon Witt. The Big Picture: A Sociological Primer. McGraw-Hill. 2007.

It is available in the campus bookstore.



The final grade in this class will be based on the following:

  1. Class attendance and active participation -- 15%.
  2. In-class assignments  -- 10%
  3. Witt question assignments – 30%
  4. Two exams during the semester  -- 30% (15% each)
  5. Final exam  -- 15%

The Witt Question Assignments 

Each week during the semester you will be required to read a chapter in the Witt book and answer a series of questions based on that reading material. These questions are posted on the Blackboard site in the ��Course Documents�� section. 

You should prepare written typed responses to each question (a paragraph or two for each question) and these are due on the date indicated in the syllabus at the start of class. Bring TWO copies of the assignment. I will collect one copy and you will need the other copy for class discussion based on the issues raised in the readings and by the questions. 

These assignments will make up 30% of your final grade.   

While you may, and should, discuss these questions with your fellow classmates, be sure to prepare your written responses independently


  1. Do not answer questions using text or wording directly from Witt.  If you do this, you must use quotes and indicate in parentheses the author and page number. However, I prefer that you read the book and explain it IN YOUR OWN WORDS.  If you take material word for word from another source without citing the source and without placing it in quotes it is plagiarism.
  1. Do not start your written responses to the questions I pose as if you are verbally responding to a question (for example: ��Yes,��.��). Write a clear introductory sentence to set the context for your reasoned and informed response. 
  1. Always try to do more than the absolute minimum.  Add some additional thoughts or examples.  Be creative. Reflect on how these issues and concepts apply to your own experience. 
  1. Do not answer the questions without reading the chapter and consulting the material in the chapter relevant to the question. 
  1. Always type up your essays and responses. It makes a much better presentation and will symbolically communicate to the instructor a seriousness of purpose.  
  1. Never turn in the first draft. Always proof and revise your work.   

Standards for Evaluation 

Your submitted written work will be evaluated on the following general criteria. : 

1. Substance: the quality and quantity of your ideas, connections, and links to conceptual and theoretical material; the strength of your argument  

2. Structure: The degree to which the organization of the written response strengthens the power of your argument and presentation  

3. Focus: attention to the specific tasks assigned to you in the question; inclusion of relevant content related to the issue at hand; indication that Witt has been consulted. 

4. Accuracy: the degree to which the content of the essay is reliable and accurate 

5. Technical Control: your mastery of grammar (sentence structure) and graphics (spelling and punctuation)    




DATE Topic/Activity Reading - Witt   Assignment
Aug 30 Introduction to the Course      
Sept 6 The Sociological Craft and Imagination Ch 1 & 2   Questions from Witt
Sept 13 Methods of Sociological Investigation Ch 3   Questions from Witt
Sept 20 Social Integration: Durkheim Ch 4   Questions from Witt
Sept 27 Exam #1

Economy and Society: Marx

Ch 5   Questions from Witt
Oct 4 Ideas and Power: Weber Ch 6   Questions from Witt
Oct 11 Self and Society Ch 7   Questions from Witt
Oct 18 Families and Relationships Ch 9   Questions from Witt
Oct 25 Education Ch 10   Questions from Witt
Nov 1 Religion and Belief Ch 11   Questions from Witt
Nov 8 Exam #2

Social Class I

Ch 12   Questions from Witt
Nov 15 Social Class II Ch 12   Questions from Witt
Nov 22 Thanksgiving      
Nov 29 Sex and Gender Ch 13   Questions from Witt
Dec 6 Race and Ethnicity Ch 14   Questions from Witt
Dec 13 Final Exam      

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