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A class project

 

 

 

Paper Topic, Research Question and Outline (5 points):

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to get you to start thinking about your research paper in terms of what you want to research. It enables me to see where you are headed and (when necessary) make suggestions for how you can better craft your topic and/or research question for a good and successful sociological analysis.

This is a 2-part assignment that will be 1-2 pages in total length. It should be submitted as ONE document.

1) Identify a Research Interest and Paper Topic

Purpose: The purpose of this step is to get you to start thinking about your research paper in terms of general topics about which you would be interested in learning more. The topic needs to be relevant to the study of society and geared towards a sociological perspective.

The completed (approx. 1pg) assignment should:

  1. Identify your Topic
  2. Describe why you are interested in this topic
  3. Describe how your chosen topic is relevant to the study of society

Tips for identifying a research topic of interest:

  • Browse through the past textbooks – find a chapter and particular theme that jumps out at you (i.e. Medicine and Health), and then browse that chapter to help further identify a topic of interest (i.e. Social Inequality in Health)
  • Look around at your life … read the newspaper. What themes, institutions, theories, issues, etc. interest/concern you the most?
  • Go to the online library and use a database such as Academic Search Premier to type in different sociological themes and see which article topics appeal to you. See also: Finding Peer Reviewed Journals in Resources folder.

(note: this will return articles from a variety of disciplines; keep in mind you will ultimately need to ask a question that may be researched from a sociological perspective)

Example topics:

  1. work & women (or gender)
  2. media as an agent of socialization
  3. marriage and sexuality
  4. health (i.e the institution) and authority

 

When developing your research question, keep in mind that it should be looking at the relationship between two social facts/variables/behaviors, and they should be more specific than what is identified in your topic. It is also often helpful to identify specific time periods – you will not be able to do a good job of exploring some social phenomena over 100 years in only 12 pages.

The completed (approx. 1-2pgs) assignment should:

  1. Identify your Topic
  2. Write your Research Question
  3. Describe why you have settled on this research question
  4. Identify what two specific variables/social facts/behavior your research question is addressing
    1. (note: these should not be different terms from what is used in your research question; I just want to be sure you are clear on what the variables in your research Q are)
  5. Describe at least 3 ways how the sociological perspective and methodologies may be used to examine this research question
    1. (use concepts from the text book)

Example research questions:

  1. a) How has the economy affected the role of women in the work force since the 1980’s? How have changes in gender role attitudes affected the “mommy-track” for women in white collar positions?

b)How has the widespread use of the internet impacted socialization over the last 15 years? How have changes in print ad portrayal of females over the last 15 years affected gender socialization?

  1. c) How has the media affected social acceptance of same-sex marriage over the last decade?
    d) How has the internet impacted the amount of authority health care providers have compared to patients?

 

WEEK 2 The purpose of this assignment is for you to begin to organize your thoughts on your paper including location (and reading) of at least one relevant peer-reviewed journal article. The paragraph (a possible draft of your introduction) should include:

 

The completed (approx. 1pg) paragraph should include:

  • Clear, well-articulated, statement of your thesis (research question)
  • A statement on how this thesis is significant to the study of society
  • A statement on how this thesis is significant to the subfield(s) of sociology within which your paper topic falls
  • A brief summary (2-3 sentences) of 1 peer-reviewed article which you plan to use in your paper
    1. This should clearly identify how this article helps to explore your research question
    2. The summary should include the thesis of the article, any notable features (year published, methodology employed, sample size and/or composition), and a very brief summary of their findings
    3. Any paraphrased or quoted work must include APA formatted in-text citations and reference

 

Note: this should be written in essay format (not bullet points); it will be graded/reviewed not only for content but for logic, clarity, and mechanics (grammar, spelling, etc). Remember to proofread your work carefully. The assignment is for 1 paragraph, but degree of information may stretch it up to 3 paragraphs (it should NOT be longer than 1.5 double-spaced page).

 

 

WEEK 3

 

: The purpose of this assignment is for you to critically read a peer-reviewed article relevant to your research question. You will be providing a sociological summary, analysis and critique. You should write it with intent to incorporate it into your paper, and to start to establish how you will organize your literature review.

 

The completed assignment (2-4pgs) should include:

 

  • Statement of the thesis/research question in the article
  • Clear statement of how this article is relevant to your research project’s thesis/research statement/question
  • Brief description of:
    1. Methodology and analysis used –
      1. Quantitative: primary data analysis – from data collected by the researcher OR secondary data analysis – from a database; statistical model used
      2. Qualitative (e.g. interview, content analysis, observation)
  • Level of analysis (micro, meso, macro)
  1. Sample size and composition (i.e. n=2,500; 90% respondents white females ages 21-48 drawn from a national probability sample)
  2. Identification of key variables and their measurement
    1. Independent variable(s) and dependent variable(s)
    2. Measurement: e.g. gender role attitudes were measured on a Likert Scale (1-5) from very traditional to very egalitarian.
  3. Hypotheses of the authors
  • Key findings
  • Analyze strengths and weaknesses of article
    1. Should include at least 2 strengths and 2 weaknesses
  • Any paraphrased or quoted work must include APA formatted in-text citations and reference

 

  • Notes: Be aware of the structure of a scientific article such as this: introduction of the problem, literature review, methodology, findings, and discussion. Notice that the authors begin with a discussion of theories (and prior literature) that predict/explain their thesis an hypotheses
  • This should be written in essay format (not bullet points); it will be graded/reviewed not only for content but for logic, clarity, and mechanics (grammar, spelling, etc). Remember to proofread your work carefully. The assignment should be 2-4 double-spaced, typed pages.

 

WEEK 4 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPY (NEEDS TO BE PEER REVIEWED)

 

Purpose: The purpose of this step is to analyze the relationship(s) between your sources and between your sources and your research question. This will be building on the critical reading done on 1 article completed during the last step.

 

For each source, briefly summarize what evidence it provides to answer your research question. (this may build on the relevance of the source, but it should not be an exact copy of that cell).

 

For 15 sources (12 of which should be peer-reviewed articles), analyze that source in comparison to another one of your sources. This could be based on type of methodology used, size of sample, hypothesis, findings, how variables are measured, etc. If you analyze Source 1 in comparison to Source 2, then your Source 2 analysis should be compared to a source other than Source 1. Keep in mind all analysis should relate back to your research question

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Category: Sample Questions