When I think of the best sociology student papers I have read, competence is the first characteristic that comes to mind. Sociology is a systematic, fact- and data-driven discipline. In order to produce a good paper, a person must do the proper review of relevant literature so they gain a competence with respect to the paper topic. In my many years of reading student papers, I have noticed that the papers with the most competent and scholarly tone are those that have been well researched. That competent and scholarly tone is evident in Hailey Sneed’s paper. She has done her homework, and this has enabled her to write confidently. Papers that are not well researched leave the student straining and stretching for meaningful and scholarly things to say. This often leads to vagaries, redundant statements, and general malarkey in the text. Thus, students must find the motivation to do proper research. This motivation often comes from one’s passion for what they are writing about. Hailey has a genuine interest and passion for the “living wage movement” and it is present in her paper. Of course the more technical aspects of writing are also very important: organization, clarity, sentence structure, flow, and grammar, as well as professional presentation demonstrated via use of a professional formatting style (ASA style in this case). Continuous editing and proofreading during the writing process is essential. Hailey also exhibits these skills.
– Peter P. Nieckarz. Jr., Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Western Carolina University