research communication where there is often a specific focus on groups who have a particular gender, ethnicity or educational background. The focus on gender and ethnicity is perhaps related to the common concern that specific genders and ethnic backgrounds appear to find certain disciplines unappealing, but it is also important to keep in mind that there are all sorts of ways socio-demographic principles can be considered, including on the basis of age, religion, sexuality, disability, culture and socio-economic context (McMaster, 2008 ).
good idea to go over in depth the readings that were required for the lectures, seminars and workshops that covered the topic identified by the essay. An important element in understanding materials specific to the essay topic is to position them in the context of the issues dealt with in the course as a whole. So, for instance, imagine you are taking a course on ‘Race and Ethnicity’ and you are writing an essay on ‘Whiteness and Class’. Focusing on readings around whiteness and class will be important, but equally important will be understanding how those readings
, article or book chapter. Below are the essay question, epigraph and first paragraph of the same student’s essay on whiteness.
Essay question: Critically assess the contribution of the notion of ‘whiteness’ to sociological discussions of race, racism and ethnicity.
‘White society hates to hear anybody, especially a black man, talk about the crime the white man has perpetrated on the black man’ (Malcolm X, 2001: 484).
At the height of the civil rights movement in America, Malcolm X was particularly vocal about discrimination against
Case study 1: a paragraph from an essay on race and ethnicity
Extracted from an essay on black feminism, the following paragraph begins to distinguish black feminism from Western feminism as a basis for reviewing contributions that black feminists have made to feminism more generally together with evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. This is an important paragraph because it contains a point that is crucial to the argument about the way black feminists have criticised Western feminists for homogenising gendered experience. The student shows
means to reach the next generation. Schools often appreciate face-to-face activities as these allow students to connect to both research and researchers. This often aligns well with educational agendas encouraging students from different genders or ethnic groups, or from specific aptitudes (those seen as less attracted to subjects or particularly gifted), to consider university or a specific type of career (European Commission, 2012 ). This can mean that, perhaps unusually for many researchers, the focus of your activity might not be restricted to your research but
, your answer to the question on black feminism might begin with a central proposition such as ‘feminism has ignored differences between women’s experiences of patriarchy’. You could then build upon this by introducing new concepts developed by black feminists that help to address this proposition, such as bringing the concept of racial discrimination into feminism. Thereafter you could further refine this argument, for example, by introducing the concept of intersectionality as a way of moving towards an understanding of how gender and ethnicity are entangled
Providing some basic numerical data: This can help to show the prevalence (or otherwise) of the phenomenon under consideration. For example, the opening paragraph of an answer to an essay question about racism in football could usefully include some figures about attitudes to ethnic differences from the British Social Attitudes Survey. These data might help you to show that racism persists in Britain. Whilst the figures may not be about football directly, they serve to contextualise the issue of racism in football against broader patterns of racism in society at large
result in an activity being as inclusive and welcoming as possible.
It is also important to consider any other issues of equality that you may need to take into account when deciding with whom you plan to communicate. A number of these issues are discussed in Chapter 3 . Your communication efforts may be targeted at people who have particular characteristics (such as gender, ethnicity or religion), or equally it may be that a particular group justify more specific attention in terms of their experience (Hoggarth and Comfort, 2010 ). You should consider