To complete a traditional research paper, start by choosing a specific current or historical social change topic that intrigues you from the list of core causes of social change identified in class: an invention, discovery, cultural diffusion, new idea, change in the economy or politics, an environmental issue, or a social movement.
Then, ask a clear and focused research question about the cause or consequence of this social change. Remember that you only have 5 pages for your paper, so it is necessary to have a specific and narrow research question rather than choosing a broad topic. For example, What is the impact of outsourcing on customer service jobs? is much more focused than How has industrialization changed society?. A general format for your question could be:
How has [the cause of social change] affected the way that the [name of institution] is organized?
What is the relationship between [the cause of social change] and the ways in which people have changed their attitudes or behaviors?
What is the impact of [the cause of social change] on how people engage with each other at the micro and/or macro level of society?
Next, your task is to use your research question to help guide your review of appropriate and relevant academic sources on the causes and/or consequences of this specific social change. In addition to utilizing and referencing the applicable theories and concepts in the Croteau & Hoynes and Gladwell course books, you are required to include at least three reputable outside research sources. Peer-reviewed academic books or articles are preferred (see below for citation formats) and sites like Wikipedia or opinion blogs do not count, nor do simplistic sources like dictionaries. Your emphasis needs to be on your academic analyses of the relationship between the causes and consequences of this change, rather than simply a description or history review of the change. Remember to consider how the social context can add complexities to this issue or how different groups (class, race, sex, etc) might be influenced differently by this social change.
Both choices require a term paper.
Your term paper should:
A) Incorporate the following:
1) An introduction of the sociological focus of your project or research, noting the general social change topic and institution it connects to, plus your overall thesis of the cause of this social change;
2) A description of your research methodology and a review of the relevance and appropriateness of your sources;
3) A summary of the social context that created the sociological conditions for this social change to occur, integrating relevant data, concepts and theories from course materials;
4) An analysis of the significant causes and consequences of this social change with a comparison of the impacts on diverse groups of people, using as many applicable sociology concepts and theories as relevant to explain the relationship between the trends;
5) A concluding paragraph that notes the important sociological insights you gained from this project, rather than simply restating or summarizing your findings. Do not add in new data or research in conclusion.
B) Whether you have done community-based learning or traditional research, the term paper requires using the course textbooks, in addition to your field research or outside research sources. Apply relevant concepts and theories from your readings to demonstrate your understanding of course material. The quality and effectiveness of your sociological analysis will be reflected in your grade, so make sure to clearly explain the sociological relevance of the social change issue you have participated in and/or studied rather than just describing the history of the issue or a description of your service-learning activities.
C) Be college quality. Use an academic writing style. Do not use slang and make sure to correct all typos and spelling errors. Such errors will be reflected in your grade. If you need help, consider bringing your paper to the College Success Center or the Writing Center for proof-reading. I am not able to read drafts of papers, but we can discuss core questions.
D) Follow these structural guidelines:
1) Write a maximum of 5 pages, in Times New Roman 12-point font, with double-spacing and one-inch margins (do not mess with these to shorten or lengthen your paper);
2) Do not have separate title or bibliography pages. Just put the title at the top of the first page and the bibliography at the end of your report to save space and paper;
3) Cite sources, using the proper sociological (ASA) format. For direct quotes in your paper, use the following style at the end of the sentence (Croteau and Hoynes 2012:164), or for general references (Gladwell 2008). Cite the complete citation at the end of the paper in a bibliography, such as: Gladwell, Malcolm. 2000. The Tipping Point, New York, NY: Little, Brown and Co. Do not use footnotes. Web sites are acceptable only if they are professional sites with research data and academic sources, such as on-line articles. Opinion sites, magazines, and Wikipedia do not count. Reference the organization or author of the website material at the end of the sentence (e.g., City Repair 2010). Do NOT put the web site in the body of the paper. In the bibliography, you need to cite all of the information about the site, as in a standard paper citation, as well as give the web site at the end of your citation. For more helpful details, check out: ASA Citation Styles.