Application at issue across the discipline
Reading: Rossi, Peter H. 1980. “The Presidential Address: The Challenge and Opportunities of Applied Social Research.” American Sociological Review 45:889-904.
What did both sides of the debate add to your understanding of the challenges confronting applied sociology? Which articles and arguments did you find most persuasive? Why?
The primary focus of the debates is to apply ideas in the readings to the proposition to be debated: Sociology should be an applied discipline.
Prepare for the debate by meeting with the other debate participants and choosing a side to argue (oppose) as your particular focus. Conduct a preliminary discussion of points that your team might make—and of opposing points that you may have to refute. Review the reading(s) and jot down key points. Then outline a contribution to your team’s argument that builds on the reading(s). Make sure that both sides are developed, all appropriate readings are covered, and a logical presentation plan is developed.
Plan your debate so that both sides argue for opposing positions. In addition, make sure that both sides begin with opening statements that state their position and the types of evidence they have used. After the opening, the sides must, in turn, present their own arguments and then rebut the other team’s arguments (with planned criticism). Both sides should present a closing statement.
Your primary task in the debate is to review the relevant required and supplementary readings in a way that relates the readings to the question posed in the debate. You can also bring in some case study material, such as articles or reports from newspapers or other media or, if highly relevant, from the experiences of team members.
From the opening statement to the final discussion in the class, the entire debate should be planned for 2 hours. This means that the ten participants should each plan for about 10 minutes of presenting material (although this time can be distributed in different debate segments), with the remaining time spent posing questions and engaging in dialogue with the class about the readings and the related issues.
Revisit your notes after the debate, review comments made in the debate, and write up a summary of what you learned. Do not do any additional reading, but turn in your notes, comments, and summary with citations and a bibliography of the sources you used.