Skip to Main Content

SOC 1, Gibbs : Getting Started

Assignment Information

Instructions: The Sociological Imagination is considered a foundational idea in the field of Sociology. In this assignment, we will learn about the term and how to see it in action in Social Science research. We will be thinking about: 

  1. Social science research on the Sociological Imagination ( "personal troubles" AND "public issues" )
  2. Personal AND public level solutions you will create based on what you find in #1 above. 

Read / Review: We will have at least one in-person class session dedicated to learning about and unpacking The Sociological Imagination (the SI). To prepare for that, read "The Promise" article (attached below). When you review the course material on the SI, pay attention to the author's ideas about how things that we often think of as merely "personal troubles" are actually linked to more widespread problems called "public issues." 


  1. Go to the Foothill College Library (either in person or virtually): 
  2. Click on the "Find Article button" 
  3. Enter the search term: Sociological Imagination. 
  4. Research the listings that come up. 
  5. Choose one that looks interesting to you. This is the research article you will present to the class. Everyone needs to choose a different article - let's discuss in class how we make that happen. 

Think: Think about how something that you might often consider merely a "personal trouble" (experienced by you alone or only a few people) is actually a widespread "public issue." How does the research article help us to see the problem as a public issue (not just as merely a personal trouble)? Explain. 

Specific Assignment Instructions

  1. Learn about the term, the Sociological Imagination, by visiting our course discussion page on the topic. 
  2. Define the term "the Sociological Imagination" using a quoted definition only from our course materials. 
  3. Cite the source of the quoted definition using either APA or ASA format. Not sure how to do that? See the How to Cite Page in the Resources Module on Canvas or visit the Library Guide. 
  4. Explain what the definition means in your own words. 
  5. Research - using academic databases - and select one academic research study that either explicitly explains, uses, is based on, applies, or furthers our understanding of the SI. 
  6. Give a short description (1 paragraph max - in your own words) about the research study you chose and what it is about. 
  7. Share an example or fact from the research that shows a personal trouble as a public issue. 
  8. Explain how the research either suggests or gives an example of how the SI can be used to improve the human condition. 
  9. Cite the source using APA or ASA format. 
  10. Provide an image that illustrates this assignment. Cite the source in-text and in the references section. 
  11. Discuss in class and here. Create an authentic community around this topic. Reach out to at least two other students in your group here. 

Off-Campus Access

For off-campus access to the online databases and eBooks, you'll need your student ID. See our Off-Campus Library Services LibGuide for more information.

You can also renew your books online from home.

Assignment Calculator

San Jose State's Assignment Calculator is a good resource to help you determine how much time you have to complete various aspects of your research and writing, given your starting date and due date.

What is your topic of interest?

The Sociological Imagination


"The Promise" by C.Wright Mills

Ask Me for Help!