1. So let’s start off with a general overview on what society is, and how you are supposed to discuss it in your essay.


Society can be viewed as individuals that are all working together out of mutual interests, beliefs, or for mutual benefits.  The Engineering Society, for instance, is an organization for professional engineers who come from different disciplines (electrical, mechanical, nuclear and so on). What might be important to one kind of engineer may be totally irrelevant to another.

The same can be said in very general terms about the broader term of “society”. There can be seen a certain structure and elements within society as a whole, the same as there are different types of engineers within the Engineering Society.

Society’s structure can be broken down into different areas in which people have certain things in common such as:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Geographical location
  • Profession
  • Economics/commerce
  • Cultural norms

There are likely more that I have overlooked but this at least gets you started on thinking about how “society” is made up of different groups of people.


  1. Within the various groups I have listed above, you can see that there are further sub- categories that help to define the many sections of society. For instance:
  • Politics can include not only democracy, socialism, communism etc. but can also become intertwined with things like the military, big business, medicine and education to mention only a few.
  • Religion covers many belief systems such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Muslim etc.
  • Geography affects society not only because of terrain and weather considerations but also because the geography indicates whether a particular society is part of a developed or a developing country. This, in turn, affects politics, education and commerce.
  • Professions within a society have their own focus in life and therefore want and expect different things when it comes to technology.  Look at the varying goals, aspirations, and needs for those in professions such as law, education, medicine, research, science etc.
  • Economics/commerce is another segment of society that sets its own goals and has an impact on technology depending on which economic group is involved (i.e. large corporations, NGO’s, not-for-profit organizations, financial institutions, or the everyday consumers).
  • Cultural considerations in societies can encompass and influence many things such as art, philosophy, sports, gender bias, meshing of law/church, treatment of the elderly/the poor/the uneducated.


  1. Lastly, if you look at the progress of society over the years, you will see (in simplistic terms) that social change often follows a certain path.

As society advances, (and this is where you may see your technology enter the picture), it goes from early stages where people may start off as

a)      Hunters and gatherers, which may lead to

b)      Horticulture, which could then advance further to

c)      Agriculture, then on to

d)     Industrialization, which leads into

e)      A more service-related society


  1. Hopefully a better understanding of ‘society’ and its many facets has been provided above and this will help put things into perspective for you when you have to start formulating a thesis statement for your essay.  Now you need to think about your essay’s thesis or argument.  Use this question below to get you started, ok?

What role has society, (perhaps only one, or more, segments of society), played in the research, discovery, creation and development of the technology that you are writing about?

Once you have come up with your thesis statement, you can go through your academic sources and elaborate on the topic. Kevin Baker has already provided you with a number of questions that you can research to help get you writing on how society has impacted the technology.



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