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SY1001: Australian Society: An Introduction to Sociology : Essay Resources

Townsville campus major essay topics

There is a debate that the family as an institution is either dead or in a state of constant transition. Defend one of these propositions with reference to key theories and studies pertaining to the family as an Australian social institution.

Suggested keywords:

Keyword 1 Keyword 2 Keyword 3
Famil* "Australian social institution" Theor*
Household institution "Case studies"
"Family unit" "Social institution" Studies
"Nuclear family"    


Social mobility is obtainable for all Australians because we live in the ‘lucky country’. Discuss whether you agree or disagree with this statement by referring to key factors such as social class, race, and gender with reference to one of the key sociological paradigms and studies on the topic.

Suggested keywords:

Keyword 1 Keyword 2 Keyword 3
"Social mobility" "Social class" "sociological paradigm"
"Status achievement" Race Studies
"Achieved status" Gender "case studies"
  "Socio-economic status"  


According to the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu an individual’s educational success is  strongly influenced by the degree of cultural capital that he/she possess which is valued by the education system and mainstream society. Discuss the theory of cultural capital in determining an individuals’ chances of obtaining educational success by reference to the concepts of race, class, and gender

Suggested keywords:

Keyword 1 Keyword 2 Keyword 3
"Cultural capital" "Educational success"


"Pierre Bourdieu" Education Class
"Symbolic capital" Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Gender
"Social capital" College / University Middle / Working class
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Cairns campus essay topics

The essay questions are as follows (select one only):

1. Does the concept of class still exist in our contemporary society?

2. Sociologically analyse the manner in which a present-day social issue is reported in the media.

3. Select a current political issue that is ongoing in our contemporary culture. How can we best understand this issue sociologically?

4. Intimacy has changed quite dramatically in our current culture from the past. Explore how these have changed using one or two specific examples.

5. What is the concept of medicalisation and does it apply to our contemporary relationships to the medical industry?

6. What sort of problems do we face as a society through climate change?

7. What is underemployment? What are some of the implications for those who are underemployed today sociologically?

8. Why are youth subject to more social control than other groups in Australia?

9. Has our contemporary life become rationalised as predicted by Max Weber? Use a case study to explore this further.

10. Sociologically critique any piece of media (film, television, fiction, non-fiction) or artwork using appropriate sources and sociological theory (NB – this is a question designed more for creative media/arts students and English students)


Understand what you have to do by unpacking your assignment question

Task words are usually verbs and they tell you what to do to complete your assignment. Some assignment topics below have implied task words, e.g. Is our life becoming dominated by the medical industry? The implied task word here is Argue. Check out this glossary of task words.

Content words are the content words are the "meat" of the question - these are things you can research.

Limiting words keep you focused on a particular area, and stop you from trying to write about everything. Common limits include time, place, extent (focus area) and number of foci.

Context words are phrases or sentences that aren't part of the task at all. They exist to give you some context.

Find credible information for your assignments

Use JCU Library's high-quality reference materials to find definitions and background information when you start your assignment.

Reference materials are factual works and include:

  • Dictionaries
  • Subject specific dictionaries
  • Directories
  • Encyclopedias.

Use these materials to:

  • Define terms in your lecture materials or assignment questions
  • Confirm facts and figures.
Credo Reference is a great place to start your research with access to the world's best citable information - online, anytime.

A good search strategy will help your search interface (e.g. Google, One Search, databases) retrieve relevant information sources.

Example: Australia AND (refugee OR migrant) AND ("social inclusion" OR assimilat*)

Find out how to build a search strategy:
Searching key discipline databases will help you find high-quality information sources faster. Information sources that are suitable for university assignments are usually described as scholarly, academic or peer-reviewed.
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One Search

One Search is a good place to start searching for books, ebooksjournal articles, and our e-journal content all at once.

  • Use the Content Type, Subject Terms and Publication Date options on the left to refine your search.
  • For eBooks  tick 'Full Text Online' and 'Book/eBook'.

One Search is also available on the Library home page.

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