It is a common fallacy, which almost all researchers initially commit, that ‘research’ is something that can bring an entirely new innovation in academia. Dissertations should always be based on the golden rule that the word ‘research’ is a combination of two words ‘re-’ and ‘search’. So ideally, a dissertation should be focused on adding value to an existing research area by ‘re-searching’ the current material. Instead of going for buzzwords and a generic area of research, an optimum dissertation is always focused on a precise, narrow and easy to manage research area. While developing dissertation topics, research aims and objectives, researchers should always follow the advice to ‘never choose a topic merely on the grounds that it is hot in current debate. A preferable topic would be the one that may be less common but it matches the researcher’s interest and aptitude. This article suggests topics for your sociology dissertation in the areas of cultural sociology, sociology of education, sociology of religion, sociology of family, economic sociology, criminology, industrial sociology, political sociology, comparative sociology and the sociology of gender.
2.0 Cultural sociology
Cultural sociology is one of the most commonly used disciplines of sociology. It covers analysis of a society’s macro level and micro level cultures, including their values, beliefs, norms, material and non-material culture etc. Normally cultural sociology is read through the eyes of famous sociologists including Marx, Webber and Durkhaim. Topics within this area that could be used for your sociology dissertation are:
- Analysing the validity and application of Marx’s ‘Conflict Theory’ in UK society?
- Is Webber’s theory of rationalism applicable to the social structure of the UK?
- Analysing the changing trends of the UK’s high culture over the years?
- Is the popular culture of the UK the same as it was few decades ago?
- What are the impacts of cultural invasion from immigrants on the UK’s indigenous values, norms and beliefs?
- What are the dimensions and types of cultural shock that a foreigner from Asia or the US can have?
- Analysing the cultural lags in UK society?
- Tracking the changing elements of counterculture in the UK?
- On a geographical basis, what are the different subcultures prevailing in UK society?
- Identifying the positive and negative aspects of inter sub-cultural social interaction.
3.0 Sociology of Education
Sociology of education studies the impact of various social elements on the education system of a society. These elements may include individuals of a society, public policies for education, structure of education and public sector institutes. It includes public sector schools as well as higher, further education and continuing education systems. Topics within the sociology of education that could be used for your sociology dissertation are listed below.
- A historical study of education and the sociology of its policy in the UK since the Second World War?
- Analysing the link between a teacher’s motivation level and class performance in a public school?
- Analysing the structure of the education system in public schools with relevance to socially excluded young people?
- Examining the structure and impact of social guidance and counselling in primary schools?
- The effect of the school environment on children’s perception of the macro level society?
- Analysing the fees/scholarship policies in higher education systems, with relevance to social stratification in UK society?
- Examining and determining the ways and amendments through which a school system itself can narrow the gap in education outcomes for vulnerable groups?
- Examine the readiness of the public school environment to create and develop inter-faith harmony and understanding among children?
- Exploring the Marx’s Conflict Theory in education – Is the UK’s public school system maintaining the social status quo?
- Analysing the focus of the national curriculum towards sociological outcomes, as compared to economic outcomes, for students?
4.0 Sociology of Religion
Sociology of religion encompasses a vast range of issues related to the impact that different elements create on religion and the impact that religion creates on various social issues. For instance, it includes the study of various beliefs, values and structures of religions in society, along with the impact that social elements like social interaction, media and politics impose on religion. Similarly this field of sociology covers contemporary issues like the impact of social issues like gender, inequality and stereotyping on religion. If the area of sociology of religion interests you when it comes to writing your sociology dissertation, the following topics may prove useful to you.
- Comparison of cross-religious beliefs and values in the UK.
- How have print and electronic media in the UK created perceptions about different religions?
- Analysing the common religious grounds for developing inter-faith harmony in the UK.
- How has social interaction between people from different religious backgrounds lead to religious diffusion?
- Analysing the link between gender and sexual issues with relevance to different religions.
- Is there any link between religion and social change?
- A critical analysis of religious organisations in the UK and their impact on social structure.
- Identifying the link between religion and political behaviour in the UK.
- Identifying the impact of religion on marriages in the UK.
- Exploring the relationship between religion and education as a social institute.
5.0 Sociology of Family and Marriage
This branch of sociology is related to study of a family and marriage system of a society. The topics include the structure of family, number of children in a family, parent-child relationships, intra family gender dynamics, family internal and external social interaction, effect of social change on family, marriage system, dynamics and types of marriage and rituals and post marriage social interaction. This area will enable you to make comparisons between different cultures, or different periods in history. Some possible topics for your sociology dissertation include:
- Historic analysis of basic family size and structure in the UK.
- Analysing the impact of periodic social change on family structure in the UK?
- Comparison of benefits and costs of living in a nuclear family system or extended family system?
- Exploring intra household dynamics of child-parent relationships in a typical UK household?
- Analysing the trend of fertility rates in the UK and the causes behind any changing trends?
- Comparative study of marriages in various sub cultures of the UK?
- Historical analysis of changes in the rate of divorces and its main causes in UK society?
- Exploring the nature and outcomes of residential patterns in UK society?
- Identifying the social causes of domestic violence in a family?
- Examining the impact of domestic violence on the children of the family?
6.0 Economic Sociology
This field of sociology examines economy as a social institute that organises a society’s production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. It caters different economic systems such as socialism, communism and capitalism, corporations, social organisations of labour markets, types of jobs, labour migration, sociological dimensions of consumer spending and social aspects of money and informal economy. You could base your sociology dissertation on any of the following topics:
- Comparative study of communism and capitalism as economic models and their impacts on social hierarchy.
- Is there still a blue collar and white collar social divide in the contemporary UK economy?
- Analysis of the UK economy with relevance to Marx’s critique on capitalism.
- What are the social changes that were generated from transition of the UK’s economy from industrial revolution (capitalism) to recent informational revolution?
- What are the social impacts of increased international labour migration on UK’s society?
- Can the communism model be applied to UK society? A critical analysis.
- Can informal economy generate local socio-economic development?
- What are the main sociological dimensions of consumer spending in the UK?
- What are the potential detrimental effects of the recent economic slum in social status of members from the secondary labour market?
- Identifying the intra household economic relationships of a UK family.
7.0 Sociology of Crime/Criminology
This field of sociology is focused to understand the nature and social dimensions of crime, concept of deviance, types of crime including youth crime, gang crime and large scale crimes and old and contemporary crime control mechanisms such as state punishment. With crime becoming a prominent and much talked about topic in modern society, a sociology dissertation on the sociology of crime / criminology may prove useful and well read.
- What are the key social factors behind increasing knife crime in the UK?
- Are the criminal statistics of the UK valid and are they giving the actual picture – Critical analysis of criminal data collection methodology?
- What are the main dimensions of deviance in UK society?
- Historic analysis of social causes behind street and gang fights in the UK?
- Are there any signs of abuse in crime reporting?
- Are there any ethnical, gender and religious dimensions to crimes in the UK?
- Is Durkhaim’s idea of Anomie the main cause behind increased youth crime in the UK?
- Critical analysis of the Government’s crime prevention reforms and policies.
- Is punishment the only solution to stop crime? Exploring the social alternatives of crime prevention.
- Is alcohol consumption the main social and behavioural cause of street crimes in the UK?
8.0 Industrial sociology
Industrial sociology is also known as sociology of work. This applied field of sociology explores social and human relationships within a workplace. It includes a range of issues such as productivity, motivation, unionisation, corporate citizenship, line manager-worker relationships, social structures of organisations, social groups in organisations, and cultural diversity in the workplace, technological advancement and social impact on workforce, inequality and anti-discrimination laws. For your sociology dissertation, the following topics could be considered.
- What is the social structure of a typical large scale UK organisation?
- What are the changing trends in the role of trade unions in the social well being of workers in the UK?
- Is there any link in cultural sensitive organisational policies and worker satisfaction and productivity?
- What are the ways through which organisations can create cultural harmony and management of cultural diversity?
- What are the social impacts of automation in workplaces on workers?
- Has the social organisation of a British firm guided the macro level societal norms, values and social status?
- What are the key features of industrial societies like the UK?
- What is the link between motivation of a worker and productivity?
- What are the social dimensions of communication within an organisation?
- Should a line manager-worker relationship be based on social requirements or organisational goals? How can managers create a balance?
9.0 Political Sociology
Political sociology deals with complex relationship such as power, authority, individual and group interests and social change. It may cover the historical journey of political movements generated by social forces as well as the contemporary impact of politics on society due to the power politics between individuals, groups, political institutions and economic interests. If you are interested in creating a sociology dissertation based on political sociology, the following topics may help you to narrow down your research.
- To what extent is power politics in the UK generated by social forces?
- Is politics in the UK a based on social class theory of power struggles between elites of the society? A critical analysis of the UK’s politics on the basis of Marx’s views?
- Is democracy an applicable political model in a capitalist society?
- What is the appropriateness of ‘pluralism’ as a political model in UK society?
- What are the gender dimensions of voting in the British political system?
- Critical analysis of the UK welfare state system.
- What are the intersecting links of religion and politics as major social institutes?
- Considering the British society, is the charismatic leadership or rational-legal model more suitable?
- What is the scope and importance of ethnic minorities in mainstream British power politics?
- What are implications of globalisation in modern nation-state and politics?
10.0 Comparative Sociology
This field of sociology deals with the comparison of various modes of societies such as capitalism, socialism, communism, welfare capitalism and state capitalism. It also deals with cross society comparisons regarding social institutions such as education, economy, family, marriages, health, religion and comparison of social issues such as race, ethnicity and gender. For ideas for your sociology dissertation, see below.
- Comparative study of social inequality – Capitalism vs Communism
- Comparative study of labour markets and labour market movements in the UK and America
- Comparative study analysing the well being of citizens The UK as a welfare state vs Japan’s State Capitalism?
- Is the UK holding its own traditional culture – Comparing diffusion of multiple cultures in contemporary British society?
- Comparative study of gender issues between UK society and Africa.
- Comparison of marriage as a social institute in UK and India.
- Comparing the role and strength of religion in shaping a British society and Arab society?
- Comparative study of family structure in UK society and Russian society.
- Comparing the education system as a social institute for shaping the societal norms in the UK and North America?
- Determining the well being of a citizen and social development – Comparison of the democratic system vs totalitarianism?
11.0 Sociology of Gender
Sociology of gender has been one of the most common fields of sociology for a long time. Academically, most of the work in this field is done in the context of developing countries, where complex gender relations are prevailing in their societies. It includes intra household gender dynamics as well as the role of males and females in societal functioning. However, feminist school of thought has taken sociology of gender as a study of analysing patterns of discrimination against females. This could be an interesting area for you to base your sociology dissertation on.
- What is the extent of female bargaining power within a household in a developing country?
- What are the reasons behind discrimination against women within a rural household in a developing country?
- What are the social forces that shape gender relations in a society?
- What are the links of patterns of inheritance with defining the gender roles?
- What are reasons behind women’s exclusion from access to education?
- What are the sources of discrimination against women in workplaces?
- How can religion shape gender relations and roles?
- How can women be incorporated in income generation activities?
- How power politics of a society can can determines role of females in a society?
- What is the role of the media in shaping gender roles of a society?
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