For your final project you must write a research paper on any subject that deals with some aspect of society or culture. It can be a topic you thought of yourself, we have discussed in class, read about in class handouts, observed in class videos, or any of the chapters of your Text or on any hypothesis you have about society or culture that your instructor approves of. Background information for this paper should be found through library research, internet research, or interviews and surveys. Sociological research for this paper should be conducted by using the 10 steps in Sociological Investigation.
Steps in Sociological Investigation:
1. Define the topic.
2. Find out what has already been written about the topic.
3. Assess the requirements for carrying out the research.
4. Specify questions you are going to ask.
5. Consider the ethical issues involved in the research.
6. Choose the research method: Library, Surveys or Interviews.
7. Gather your data.
8. Interpret the findings.
9. State the conclusion based on your findings.
10. Write your paper and turn it in on time.
• Paper Proposal: A short proposal of what topic you plan to research is required to be turned in before the final paper. This should be a paragraph in length stating what your topic is and how it relates to Sociology. This proposal will be given back to you if the topic is approved by the instructor. If the topic does not seem appropriate to the instructor, then the proposal will be handed back to the student and he or she will have to turn in another proposal. A proposal must be turned in before your paper, or I will not read your paper. If there are any questions about topics do not hesitate to ask questions after class or meet with the instructor during office hours or by appointment.
• Paper Length & Format: The actual paper must be 7 pages, not including the References page at the end. Your papers must be typed. Set the typewriter or word processor to double space and keep it there throughout the entire manuscript. Use one-inch margins on the left, right, top, and bottom of the page. These margins are wide in order to leave room for reviewer’s comments. Use normal paragraphs in which the first line is indented five characters for all paragraphs in the manuscript. Use a 12-point font. In other words, there should be 10 typed characters per inch. They should be stapled together in the upper left hand corner. No plastic binders or composition covers will be accepted. If your paper is not stapled or has a plastic binder around it, I will automatically deduct 5 points off your final paper grade. I encourage everyone who doesn’t own a computer to utilize the college’s computers in writing their papers or to learn word processing.
• Content: Your finished paper should address the background and history of the subject you have chosen as well as touch on the current theories and ideas on the subject. No single word pages at the end, no large fonts, or large margins to extend your paper. Do not write too much on one area of the topic and leave out critical information, background in other areas. Finally, somewhere in the body of your paper you should explain the relevance of your chosen topic, why this topic is related to Sociology.
• Style: I would like everyone to use APA Standard Style when writing your Paper. Social research is a public venture. Therefore, one of the essential skills of the scientist is to be able to communicate ideas and research results effectively. Assume you are writing the paper for submission to a scientific journal. A lot of the formatting details can be learned by carefully modeling another APA or ASA journal article or by reading the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association published by the American Psychological Association (5-th edition) (2001). That 368-page book is an extensive and invaluable resource for students engaged in serious social science research, and if guides like this one do not suffice; students should purchase the APA Publication Manual for their own use (approximately $22 in paperback) or borrow it from a library. Copies should be available in college and university libraries and in municipal libraries. There are also many web sites that can help you when referencing in this format.
• Spelling and Punctuation and Grammar: Please check the spelling, punctuation, and grammar of your paper before turning it in. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar will be graded on, and mistakes will count against the paper grade. You must use complete sentences. The first sentence of a paragraph must be independent (able to stand on its own). Try not to use slang (e.g., …put a damper on…). Do not use contractions. That is, instead of it’s, use it is. If you are doubtful about the spelling of a word, do not guess. Look up the correct spelling in an appropriate reference source (e.g., Merriam-Webster.com). Proofread the copy that you submit and do correct minor typographical errors, formatting, spelling, or even the wording. Get friends to read it. If they cannot understand it, then it needs work. If you cannot get a friend to read it, then try to read it yourself making believe that you are naive.
• Organization: Your paper must be well organized. I will look to see if it “flows” well from one idea to the next. Does everything make sense? Have you covered the topic adequately? Do you have enough references and specific examples in your paper? Remember, this is a Research Paper; you need to do research and show me that you have done it.
• References: At least 5 references, not including your textbook should be used in this research paper. Please check out or use at least 5 different books, journals, magazines, newspapers, or even web sites as sources for your information. Do not use all Internet sources for your references. In order to avoid plagiarizing, use the following form for citing (giving credit to) an outside source in your writing:
First- In the body of your paper, indicate a directly quoted passage with quotation marks. If you are using an author’s own ideas or facts from a book or article like specific dates or numbers and amounts, make sure you give them credit at the end of the sentence or paragraph using the following notation: At the end of the sentence in parentheses, put the author’s (or authors) name, the year, and the page number indicating where the quote or information was taken from. It may seem like you are putting a lot of these references in the body of your paper, but you will have to do this type of referencing or something similar for the rest of your college career. It is better than being suspected of Plagiarism.
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