A sociological hypothesis is a statement of a problem or a question that is linked to the study of human society. The aim of the hypothesis is to advance sociological knowledge of a particular issue and can include any topic, from gender to poverty. Developing a hypothesis is the first stage of writing a research paper and should reflect the problems and trends of the topic.
Household and Family
In sociology, the family is defined as a group of people who are related by kinship ties, usually relations of blood or marriage. This family unit is one of the most important social institutions and can be used for your research paper. Consider changing social attitudes towards new types of households, like same-sex and one-parent, and what kind of life this produces for children. You can also focus on a specific family issue, such as whether women's increasing career opportunities have affected how much domestic labor they perform.
Education is another major social institution that can be explored in a sociology paper. In your hypothesis, ask about the effect that a person's class, gender, disability or ethnicity has on educational motivation or on achievement. You could also consider the extent to which the modern elementary, middle or high school curriculum reflects the diversity of modern American society. Alternatively, investigate the extent to which the curriculum reflect the interests and values of one social group at the expense of others.
Inequality and Poverty
The gap between the rich and poor is another area to consider when developing a hypothesis. Evaluate the usefulness of current measures of poverty, like income levels and family budgets. Another idea is to consider poverty from different social perspectives. You could research whether aspects of social background, class, gender, age or ethnicity are a predictor of poverty. Alternatively, consider how wealth can affect an individual's lifestyle and human motivation. Explore the extent to which poorer people feel more powerless or alienated than the rich and the effectiveness of government programs, like food stamps, in solving the problem of poverty.
The sociology of crime is another subject that can be used to develop a hypothesis. Consider how society responds to the incidences of particular crimes, like corporate crime and those committed by women. Explore whether gender plays a role in predicting the crimes that an individual might commit or become a victim of. Research whether or not there is a relationship between being unemployed or having a low income or education level and committing crime. Your hypothesis could also be based on the treatment of crime and if some social groups more likely to face police harassment or brutality than others. You could also explore how effective prison is in preventing crime or deterring individuals from becoming career criminals.
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