SOCI 1125 Online Introduction to Society: Processes and Structures
- TOPIC:Choose a subject of sociological interest that has been reported in the news within the past two years. Your topic MUST be connected to material covered in the textbook for this course(Schaefer and Haaland, Society: A Brief Introduction). Suggestions for topics are given below.
- RESEARCH AND SOURCES:You must draw upon information from the course textbook and a minimum of THREE (3)ADDITIONALacademicresources (library books or journal articles written by social scientists) related to your topic. The bulk of your paper must be based on the course text and the three additional academic sources. Your main resources must be suitable for sociological study (i.e. not psychology, criminology, business, health and medicine, etc.). You may also usesupplementary course readings, videos, websites, news and magazine articles but they will not be counted among the 3 additional academicsources required. Avoid vague and unsupported generalizations, emotional comments, moralizing, and reference to personal experiences or opinions – just state your points and back them up with evidence from the research!
- LENGTH AND FORMAT:Your essay should be about 6-7 pages in length (2,000 – 2,500 words), not including the Works Cited List. Do not include a cover page. Type your paper in a 12 point font, double-space, and use standard margins. Give your paper a title, and include your name, the course and section number, and date submitted at the top of the first page. Save your file as a Word.doc.
- DIRECT QUOTATIONS: The bulk of your essay should be in your own words. Sentences copied from any outside source must be enclosed within quotation marks, followed by citations. Use quotes sparingly and wisely (i.e. not as “filler”) and incorporate them smoothly into your own writing.
- CITATIONS AND WORKS CITED LIST: Include proper citationsin the text of your paper ANY TIME you refer to ideas, analysis, facts, statistics and other information from your resources, both when quoting directly and summarizing in your own words. Include a Works Cited List at the end of the paper. List ONLY those sources that you actually read, used and cited in the paper (if a source is cited in the paper, it must also appear in the works cited list and vice versa). You may use ASA or APA style. Refer to handouts: Guidelines for Citations and Works Cited Lists, and ASA or APA style guide. Note that plagiarism will not be tolerated and this includes failure to cite sources properly!
CHOOSING A TOPIC:
What is a current event? Typically this refers to any recent news story (within the past year or two) that is of interest to the general public, from anywhere in the world. For this assignment, the story you choose must be about a social issue, problem or phenomenon that is of sociological interest and that can be analyzed sociologically. Your topic MUST connect with material covered in the required textbook for THIS course (Schaefer and Haaland, Society: A Brief Introduction). For example: CBC News reported on Oct 22, 2015, that “Nunavut's premier has declared suicide a crisis in the territory” (CBC News 2015:para 1). This news story is current, it obviously has links with our first unit on suicideand can be analyzed sociologically using material from the course text,so it is a highly suitable topic for this project.
To find a current event and establish a topic: read through chapters in your course textbook of interest to you (pay special attention to the “Applying Sociology” boxes and case studies). Then find a news article on the topic you have chosen. Alternatively, you could search for an articlein newspapers, news magazines or news agency websites, then check to see how the story connects with the material in your textbook. You might also think about the occupation you hope to enter and choose a topic related to your future career. For example, if you want to become a teacher, you might research and investigate a topic related to the sociology of education. Make sure your topic is clearly focused and narrow enough to write a short paper upon. If you’re having trouble establishing a topic or you are not sure it is suitable, don’t hesitate to e-mail me or meet me during office hours!
Suggested topics(feel free to modify a topic listed below or to choose a topic that is not on the list):
- Suicide among a specific social group (e.g. youth, Aboriginal peoples, gays/lesbians)
- Childhood and socialization (e.g. children and family, or school or media) OR aging in Canada
- Bullying in schools (and/or cyberbullying)
- Gender rolesand gender inequality (e.g. in the family, workforce, politics, sports, or in the media)
- Sexismand the objectification of women in media, OR masculinity and media
- Advertising and consumerism
- Homosexual, transgendered or transexual identities, discrimination and rights
- Global inequality and ‘sweatshop’ labour (you could narrow the focus to a particular region)
- Poverty in Canada OR around the world (e.g. child poverty, or homelessness, or poverty affecting a specific social group, or poverty and the problem of slavery today)
- Racism and racial inequality in Canada (e.g. in the workforce, sports, politics, or policing; hate groups) OR in another country (e.g. caste in India, South-African apartheid, racism in Europe…)
- Social problems affecting Aboriginals (e.g. murdered Aboriginal women or land-claims issues)
- Education and minorities (e.g. residential schools for Aboriginal peoples or racism in education)
- Family (e.g. divorce, or arranged marriage, or family violence, or child abuse, orelder abuse)
- Sociology of the environment (i.e. social and economic causes of environmental destruction, or water rights, or food security, or racism and environmental justice)
Some suggested news sites:
- The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/)
- CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news)
- BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/)
- Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/)
- The Tyee (http://thetyee.ca/)
- The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/)
- The Vancouver Sun (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/)
DOING THE RESEARCH:
- Break down your topic into various subject areas that you will need to research and establish key words and subject headings for your research. For example, if the current event I chose were Justin Trudeau’s decision to achieve gender balance in cabinet, some key words I might use to research my topic might be: gender inequality in Canadian politics (and other countries for comparison), women in politics, gender in politics, feminism and politics, political sociology…
- Be curious! Think about why you chose your topic and what you want to know about it. Write down a set of questions. For the example above, you might ask: Why is gender equality in Canadian politics necessary? How has Canada compared with other countries with regard to gender equality in politics in the past? What is the benefit of a gender balanced cabinet?
- Start with your course textbook and find general information on your topic. For the example above, you would need to read over the chapters on Gender Inequality and Politics/Economics.
- To locate academic sources that are suitable for sociology, use the KPU Library.Check out the Subject Guide for Sociology.Use “Summon Search” to find all types of resources. Narrow your search to scholarly articles, by clicking “peer reviewed” in the left side-bar and click “Sociology” to find sources that involve a sociological perspective. Search the Library Catalogue to find books and the Research Databases to locate journal articles. If you are not sure whether an article is an academic source, click “Is this a Scholarly Article?” on the library home page. If you need help, go to Research Help: Search Strategywhere you will find all kinds of information on writing a research paper (click the tabs at the top of the page) or ask a librarian!
- What about websites? Not all websites are created equal and some may not provide credible information. For example, Wikipedia may be a good place to start but it is not always correct! Websites posted on the KPU library Subject Guide for Sociology and sites such as Statistics Canada,Canadian Centre for Policy Alternativesprovide reliable publications that would be counted among your three scholarly sources. If you’re not sure, e-mail me the website link.
- Be an “active reader”– read with a purpose. Find specific information that helps develop the points you want to investigate. Note the main arguments and perspective of the author. Identify relevant sociological concepts and the theory that best analyzes and explains your topic. Make connections between resources – note points that are repeated, expanded upon or argued against. Take careful notes: record key ideas and facts in point-form in your own words. Carefully copy quotations, put quotations around the copied sentences and include a citation (author’s name, date and page). Record the sources for all your points.
WRITING YOUR PAPER:
- Create an outline!!!This is essential to a good paper.Organize your outline by subtopic or central points. Refer to your outline as you write your paper and synthesize information from your sources logically and coherently (points should flow smoothly from one another and “hang together”).
- USE PROPER ESSAY STYLE FOR ACADEMIC PAPERS
Note: the standard “five paragraph essay” that you may have been taught in high school will not work for a paper of this size. Use as many paragraphs as you need to develop your main points!
Introduction (The first paragraph):
- Briefly summarize the main points regarding the current event (news story) you chose and the social issue or problem to be examined. State how this story relates to broader social problems or conditions. For example, if your news story is about a specific individual who has been bullied at school, explain that bullying is a social problem in high schools across Canada.
- State your “thesis” – a sentence encapsulating the central point or argument you will be developing in your paper (e.g.: Despite Canada’s official policy on multiculturalism, evidence from sociological research shows that there is still ethnic and racial inequality in this country).
- Describe how you will analyze the social issue or problem sociologically (i.e. consider which sociological theory best explains and helps us understand this issue or problem)
- Briefly summarize key facts in your paper that will support your thesis. Do not go into detail – save this for the body paragraphs where you will develop your main points.
Body (Use as many paragraphs as you need!)
- Expand on and support your paper’s central “thesis” using logical arguments, facts, statistics, ideas, analysis and other evidence from your research
- Each paragraph should contain a separate main point or ‘controlling idea’. When you move to a new point or sub-topic, start a new paragraph.
- Paragraphs should flow logically, systematically and smoothly from one to another. You do not need to use subheadings for a paper of this size.
Conclusion (The last paragraph):
- Briefly summarize your central arguments and key points from the research
- State what you think are the broader implications of your findings from the research, make recommendations for social change, or suggest areas further research on the subject.
- Write multiple rough drafts, make revisions, proofread and edit!It is a good idea to print out your drafts because you may not catch errors on the computer screen. Identify places where more supporting evidence is needed. Move sections around to improve organization, include transitions to help improve coherence, omit repetitive points and unnecessary irrelevant detail. Polish your paper by proofreading and making corrections to errors in grammar, sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
- Include a Works Cited List: Use ASA (American Sociological Association) or APA (American Psychological Association) citation style. Follow the instructions on the handout: Guidelines for Citations and Works Cited Lists and consult either the ASA or APA style guides posted on the course website. See the resources posted on the KPU library website: http://libguides.kpu.ca/citations
- Give your paper a title that encapsulates the overall topic (I should be able to see exactly what your paper is about from the title).