Sociological Phenomenon Discussion

Start your research by reflecting upon the sociological context which frames out the issue(s) you seek to explore.  You may find the topic from your current events is appropriate, but most likely you have refined your topic so you can complete the required elements of the final paper.  You will have to use at least an additional five resources, three of which must be peer-reviewed articles.  You may also find relevant up-to-date information and discourse in news magazines, reliable internet sources, and state/federal agency reports.  Note that you also have interviews a from which to cull information for this paper.  Still, make sure that you emphasize the peer-reviewed articles and do not rely solely, or predominantly, on such other sources as they are primarily opinion pieces. 

Note that you do not have to, and are encouraged not to, stick with the original title of the topic you selected as it should have morphed as you read more on the subject and utilized more poignant sources.  Use your topics and outlines as a guide and take the subject where you believe it needs to go to provide further understanding of the subject matter.  You should not “pick a side” until you have summarized and analyzed all of your source information, but rather be objective and see where the material takes you.  In short, research the topic and write the paper with an open, objective mind and allow the literature and your analysis to lead to your conclusion on the subject matter. 

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Your final paper should include the following sections and be submitted in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced with one inch margins and be approximately 6 – 8 pages of substance in length.  Papers must be submitted in full APA format

Title Page:  Review APA format.  The title page must include a running header with page numbers as well as the title, student name, course number and title, institution name, name of professor for the course, and date submitted.  (Separate page.)

Abstract:  The abstract of your paper must follow APA format and should serve as a “roadmap” to the contents of the paper.  It is not simply an introduction to the start of the paper, but rather should include what the paper is about, how you have framed out the topic, reference to your literature review and brief details on relevant points therein, and reference to the critical analysis, conclusions, policy implications and research suggestions sections.  (Separate page.)

Table of Contents:  Your paper must include a table of contents consistent with APA format.  Review the manual and include the various sections of the paper along with the abstract page, reference section and any appendices with accurate page numbers noted.  (Separate page.)

Paper Introduction:  You should provide a brief introduction to your topic and your paper overall.  This is not the same as the abstract which serves to tell the reader what is in the paper generally.  The introduction provides more detailed explanation of your topic and how you have chosen to frame it out and the approach/perspective you have decided to take in researching the subject matter.  In essence, it is more of a topic introduction that leads into the substantive portion of the paper itself.  (This section should be about ½ page in length.)

Literature Review:  The literature review is the primary substance of your paper.  You will need to set it in social context, broaden its scope if you will, and talk about the topic in terms of how it is couched in larger social issues within society.  For instance, it you were going to write about “racial profiling”, you would want to first talk about segregation and discrimination in society writ large historically and as the issue is presently discussed in modern times.  From this point, you would begin to narrow down your topic to the specific approach/perspective you took regarding the subject matter.  An example consistent with the foregoing topic of profiling would be something to the effect of “profiling of Muslim individuals at airline security checkpoints.”  In any event, your literature review should begin broadly by setting the topic in social context and then be narrowed down to the specific framing of the topic in a logical, flowing, coherent manner leading you into the issue portion of the paper.  (This section should be about 4 ½ pages in length.)

Sociological Phenomena:  If you wrote the literature review correctly, you should be at the point where you simply have to state the issue in detailed terms at this point.  Simply write the primary issue and any secondary issues in question form and state the importance of examining and analyzing this subject matter within the frame you provided.  This section should set the template for what you plan to write about in your analysis, conclusion and suggestion sections that follow.  (This section should be approximately ½ page in length)

Critical Analysis:  In this section, you are to critically analyze the issue(s) by first dissecting the extant literature by writing, in summary form, the relevant points from your research that support, as well as those that contradict, any logical conclusions or preconceived notions about the subject matter.  This is what we have been doing all along with the “debate issues” from the text.  Think about it, when reading the issues in the text, both sides make good points, but that does not mean that the final conclusions drawn by the authors of the various articles are “right”, nor that you agree with their take on the matter(s).  (This section should be approximately 2 pages in length.)

Conclusion:  Now, you have reframed the issue so that there is no one article that is dispositive of the matter, and you have additional references from which to draw your personal analysis and come to a logical, coherent, inclusive and well-substantiated conclusion.  Make sure you refer back to the literature in support of your conclusion as well as during your critical analysis of the literature review you performed.  (This section should be approximately 1 ½ pages in length.)

Policy Implications:  This section should flow right from your conclusion and reflect back on the way you framed out the issue in social context during your literature review and issue statement.  Think in terms of how you stated that it is an important issue for exploration; this should provide you with an understanding of how it affects social/systems policy as well as how you might address the issue through providing policy suggestions.  (This section should be about one page.)

Suggestions for Future Research:  Simply review your paper and think about what else you would have done had you had more time and space to investigate the subject matter.  You should notice that there are things you do not know about the topic that would be helpful and serve to further inform in decision/policy-making efforts. (This section should be approximately ½ page.)

Reference Page:  Provide your reference page consistent with APA format.  You should already have the references for your paper from the annotated bibliography assignment, although you may add and delete previous sources as needed to complete your final paper.  Do not include the annotations from the annotated bibliography assignment as that information was for your use in preparing this paper.  (Separate page.) For more information on Sociological Phenomenon Discussion see this:

Sociological Phenomenon Discussion

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