Section 1 Overview and Supplemental Materials
The primary purpose of this document is to help focus your final study efforts for the first
exam by summarizing
picture’ themes of the course.
intended to help you identify how the readings fit with our course theme, the contributions
and relevance of each reading, the relationships between them, recurring themes, and also
key ideas, claims and arguments that are worth particular attention.
Some of the material
included here may show up in test questions directly: where that is true, the material has
been covered in class or elsewhere in the readings, it is important content to know and the
applicable material is specifically marked by underline
or by notation [Exam Material].
Where to focus your attention:
The emphasis for the exam is with recognition and understanding of the contributions and
significance of the readings.
Studying lists, definitions, key words and other details will not be
as helpful as a review of introductory material, course themes, and lecture material about the
issues and challenges researchers and society face in trying to understand and respond to
issues in society.
As you review, ask yourself
this reading was assigned.
Your responses to
this question will better prepare you for the exam than memorizing details. The questions will
all relate directly to the assigned readings and will draw heavily from material included in the
outlines, but the particular form they take and the visibility of correct answers will depend on
heavily on what we have discussed in class and the
As you organize your notes, try to keep in mind those particular
How each reading fits with our course theme:
what does this reading tell us, or illustrate
for us, about the challenges researchers face in studying social problems and society in
trying to deal with social problems?
The contributions and relevance of each reading:
what are the particular ideas that this
reading contributes and what is it about those ideas that are important to us?
The relationships between readings:
where do the readings fit together, overlap, support,
contradict, or alternately identify or explain conditions, causes or consequences?
Recurring themes in the readings:
what ideas, points, perspectives or interpretations of
society or social issues show up repeatedly?
Key ideas, claims and arguments in each reading:
in addition to the points listed in the
outlines, what else about each reading are particularly important to identify and
Seeing the ‘Big Picture’
In this first section of the course we focused on reading material and discussions that helped us
to identify the issues and challenges we face as individuals and as a society when trying to
understand and respond to social problems.
Researchers have to deal with the preexisting
descriptions and meanings given to the objects and practices of society. Members of society