SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH PAPER

16 Week Research Paper Assignment

SOCIOLOGY 101 – TASHIMA

Educational Goal:

This Research Assignment intends to develop a student’s ability to:

  1. Read and follow directions.
  2. Collect information/data.
  3. Analyze and interpret the information/data.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Realize that every class and instructor/professor may have different formats and requirements for their research paper.  Carefully read the directions, instructions and guidelines for every class.  Take the time to prepare each paper specifically for each class.  One instructor/professor may require one thing and another instructor may require something that is totally opposite.  DO NOT ASSUME that all research assignments will be the same.

SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH PAPER

1.  A written and WORD PROCESSED college level research paper.  This paper will utilize the scientific method to analyze and discuss data/information concerning our contemporary society.  ALL papers should use “Word” or be saved in an .rtf format for Turnitin.com submissions.  (see page 8)  Papers must be submitted to Discussion Board – Research Assignment in Blackboard by the due date listed in the syllabus.

2.  Your paper should include the following parts of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD.  You MUST use these as HEADINGS in your paper.  They are like chapter titles in a book.  There is a 30-point  reduction  if you are missing these headings:

  1. STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
  2. LITERATURE REVIEW
  3. HYPOTHESIS
  4. METHODS
  5. DATA COLLECTION
  1. DATA ANALYSIS
  2. DATA SHEET
  3. CONCLUSIONS
  4. REFERENCES or BIBLIOGRAPHY
  5. Blank Questionnaire
  1. Your paper MUST be SOCIOLOGICAL in NATURE.  If there is any doubt whether your topic is sociological please check with the instructor.  If your topic IS NOT sociological in nature there will be an automatic deduction of 30 points.
  1. Your study must include a questionnaire, which is administered (given) to a minimum of 30 people.  Your questionnaire must include the required minimum demographic questions (age and gender) and 10 – 20 questions.
  1. You should have a MINIMUM OF 5 SOURCES, in your bibliography/reference page, from which you have obtained information/data for your literature review of your paper.  Failure to have enough sources will mean a deduction of points.
  1. ALL of your sources that you have read concerning your topic should be included in your bibliography/reference page.  Citations should be complete.  If your paper is missing a bibliography/reference page there will be an automatic deduction of 20 points.
  1. Your paper MUST BE typed using a computer and SINGLE-SPACED; standard font (Times New Roman or Arial – size 12).  It should be 2,000 to 3,000 words in length.  Short papers under 2,000 words in length will be penalized.  Papers OVER 3,000 words in length will NOT be penalized.
  1. For better organization your paper MUST INCLUDE the above Scientific Method TOPIC HEADINGS that reflect the major sections of the paper.  Failure to utilize the topic headings will mean an automatic deduction of 30 points.
  1. This assignment is worth 90 points total.
  1. Your paper MUST be submitted to Turnitin.com. If your paper is not submitted to Turnitin.com you will receive “0” points.
  1. Check the syllabus for the DUE DATE of this project.  This project should be submitted to Discussion Board in Blackboard.  NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED! 

COMPLETED PAPER  (Worth 90 points) The Complete Research Paper!  This research paper MUST BE submitted to Discussion Board in Blackboard and Turnitin.com before it will be graded.  

A.  STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

B.  LITERATURE REVIEW

C.  HYPOTHESIS

D.  METHODS

E.  DATA COLLECTION 

  1. DATA ANALYSIS
  2. DATA SHEET
  3. CONCLUSIONS
  4. REFERENCE/BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGE
  5. Blank Questionnaire

GENERAL CONCERNS OF A RESEARCH PAPER:

Because many students have questions about the structure, format, and writing of the research paper the following guidelines have been developed to aid you in your endeavor.

1.  Mechanics of writing:  Your paper will not be graded on the basis of correct grammar or spelling.  HOWEVER, well-written papers tend to receive better grades.  It is therefore in your best interest to be concerned with spelling and grammar.  This research paper is a college assignment and a freshman/sophomore college level quality is demanded.  Research paper formats, which you have used in your college level English courses, are acceptable.  If you need to develop a style the MLA style is suggested.   It is the format utilized by our English department.  (APA format is also acceptable) If you have trouble in the area of grammar, spelling, or format I suggest starting and finishing the assignment early so someone can proofread your writing and typing.  

If you need help with the MLA format go to the VVC Library Webpage and click on Research Tools.  Then click on the MLA icon for the MLA style guide – here is a link:  http://library.vvc.edu/welcome  .  Click on the APA icon for the APA style guide.  You can also access the VVC Writing Center online at:  http://www.vvc.edu/offices/writing_center/index.htm or actually visit the center on lower campus in the Humanities Center (HC5).

Referencing material:

For a more complete discussion go to the VVC Library webpage in the Websites button and look in the MLA or APA style guides.  Information can also be obtained at the VVC Writing Center Website.  There are also some helpful links located in External Links in Blackboard.  A good reference for the MLA style guide is The Owl at Purdue, “MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide” located at:  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ 

2.  Organization of the Research Paper:  Your paper should have an organized flow.  There should be a logical introduction, body, and conclusion.  It should read easily and the subject should be logically presented.  By utilizing the TOPIC HEADINGS of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD you should be able to insure yourself a logical progression.

3.  Topic/Subject:  The most important aspect of the paper is the ACCEPTABILITY of the subject matter in relationship to the course.  

4.   Other factors which are considered:

A.  Is the thesis or main idea clearly stated and thoroughly discussed?

B.  Did the writer stay focused and clearly understand the subject area?

C.  Did the writer answer the questions he/she set out to answer?

D.  Has the paper been proofread? Is the paper readable?

FOOTNOTES, ENDNOTE, OR PARENTHETICAL REFERENCES:

(Concerning Footnotes/Endnotes and Bibliography/References.  I suggest the new MLA style.  However, please feel free to use whatever system you are most comfortable with.  All I ask is that you remain consistent throughout your paper.  If there is any questions about format please contact the instructor.)

The main purpose of using Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical references is to give proper credit where credit is due.  It should be used for any information that you have not initiated or created.  The Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical references are usually utilized in situations that entail a direct quote or paraphrasing.

1.  Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical references allow the reader to find precisely where the researcher found the material.

2.  Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical references should always be used for DIRECT QUOTES or anything PARAPHRASED from another author.

3.  Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical references should allow the reader to find the material in the original work.

4. Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical references should be used for all graphs, charts, and numerical data that is not part of the researcher’s own data collection.

5.  Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical references should be used for all information that is not considered common knowledge.

FOOTNOTES:  These are found at the bottom or FOOT of the page of manuscript in which they appear.  A number 1 will appear just after the quote in the text and the footnote information will be located at the bottom of that page.

ENDNOTES:  These are listed in order of appearance on a separate piece of paper following the last page of the text.  A number 1 will appear just after the quote in the text and the footnote information will be located in order of appearance after the last page of text.

PARENTHETICAL REFERENCE:  These are located within the text of the paper.  The parenthetical reference gives the author’s last name and the page where the information can be found (Smith 91) or the author’s last name, year of publication, and page (Smith 1988:91).  The complete information on the source will be found in the BIBLIOGRAPHY/REFERENCES section of the research paper.

The OBJECTIVE of the Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical reference is to allow the reader to find the material in the original source.  Therefore the FOOTNOTE/ENDNOTE will include the following information.  (The parenthetical reference will include this information in the Reference/Bibliography section.)

  1. Author (last name last).
  2. Title.

1. A book’s title is italicized.

2. An article’s title is in “quotation marks”.

C. Source (Journals, Anthologies, Magazines, Newspapers, Flyers, and etc.)

1. Source title is italicized

2.  Month Year

3.  Volume number

D. Publisher.

E. Place and year published.

F. Pages.

1. Are mandatory if there is a direct quote or paraphrasing in your paper.

2. If you are summarizing an article or book and have no specific page numbers to cite  there is no need to cite pages.

REFERENCES/CITATIONS/WORK CITED

Your references or citations, indicates ALL sources that you have used to compile your paper. These include written work, audio, audio visual, interviews, and questionnaires (which should include a time, date, and place where they were administered). Your citations should be very complete and thorough.

The bibliography or references are very similar to footnotes. There are some important differences.

1. Bibliography and references MUST include ALL material which you have used for background information.

2. It must contain ALL of the published material in your footnotes and ANY OTHER sources that you have used.

The following should be contained within your bibliography or references. This information should be written out in line form NOT outlined. (See examples)

For MLA basic book information you will need:

A. Author (last name last).

B. Title.

1. A book’s title is italicized.

2. An article’s title is in “quotation marks”.

C. Source (Journals, Anthologies, Magazines, Newspapers, Flyers, and etc.)

1. Source title is italicized

2.  Month Year

3.  Volume number

D. Publisher.

E. Place and year published.

F. Pages.

1. Are mandatory if there is a direct quote or paraphrasing in your paper.

2. If you are summarizing an article or book and have no specific page numbers to cite  there is no need to cite pages.

EXAMPLES OF BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES/CITATIONS:

Kitano, Harry H. L, Race Relations, Prentice Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 1997

Davis, K., “80% of naturalized Latinos sign up to vote, study say.” Los Angeles Times, September 5, 1989, part II, p. 7.

If you have problems with citations use:  “Citation Machine” available in Web sites in Blackboard:  http://citationmachine.net/

YOUR PAPER SHOULD HAVE THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS:

A.  STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

One to two paragraphs (100 – 200 words) which specifically discuss the intent of the research.  Make statements about “This research will -”.  Avoid questions (?) in this section (or any sections) of the research paper.  Remember you are making a STATEMENT of the PROBLEM.  Questions cause doubt in the reader’s mind.  You are attempting to make a point.  For example a start might be, “This research will investigate A; B; C; D.  Be specific about exactly what this research will do and how (questionnaire) it will be accomplished.  Discuss briefly what methods of investigation and analysis you will use.  A common problem with this section is it gets too long.  It should be concise and directly to the point.  DO NOT WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSONELIMINATE THE WORD “I”, “we”, “they”, “our(‘s)”, or “their(‘s)” .

B.  LITERATURE REVIEW

Write at least 500 to 1,000 words discussing information that has been previously written on the issue.  This is the Library Research (historical) component of your research paper.  You should try to include as much as you can which directly relates to your research paper.  This section should COMPARE AND CONTRAST different authors, opinions, and concepts.  The Literature Review is NOT a series of book reports.  This section is a mini standard research paper/essay.

C.  HYPOTHESIS

This hypothesis is based on the literature you have read, your questionnaire, and your sociological intuition/imagination.  (250 – 350 words) It will contain the expected answers to the questions you have developed in your questionnaire.   

  1. Be specific and try to guess the percentages (% of answers to your questions) of how people will respond to ALL of your questions.  You should address the expected answers to each question separately.  
  2. Try to have some reason or rationale as to why you expect your results.  
  3. Make sure you remove numbers (#’s) for questions.  Do not say “Question #1…” or “#1…”.  Restate the question.  
  4. DO NOT WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSONELIMINATE THE WORD “I”, “we”, ”us”, “they”, “our(‘s)”, or “their(‘s)” .

D.  METHODS

The specific methods and any materials used to collect information.  (150 – 300 words) EVERYONE will use the SURVEY or QUESTIONNAIRE METHOD of COLLECTING DATA.  Your QUESTIONNAIRE will have between 10-20 questions.  Do the “W” words.   (Who, What, When, Where, Why and the backwards one, How)  What exactly did you do to collect information?  Be as specific as you can.   DO NOT WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSONELIMINATE THE WORD “I”, “we”, “they”, “our(‘s)”, or “their(‘s)” .

  1. Where did you go?
  2. Who did you ask?
  3. When did you do it?
  4. Why did you select these people?
  5. What did you do?
  6. How did you ask your questions?

In developing your paper one of the critical things you want to focus on is defining your “population”.  The more specific and precise you are the better your results.  You need 30 people to fill out your survey.  As far a survey research goes 30 people is an extremely small number of people.  To begin with, 30 is probably too small a number to really do a great study.  Try to get one group of people if you can.  Try to stay within a boundary like a class you are in, your church, a sports team, employees at a business, people at a pro-wrestling match.  AVOID doing the mix and match method – I’ll get a couple from my church, a few from my family, a few of my friends, a few people from work.  Try to focus on one specific group so you can define your population easily.

E.  DATA COLLECTION

During the actual process of collecting data did you have any PROBLEMS collecting information?  Did people understand your questions? (100 – 200 words)   For most of you this will be a relatively short section because you won’t have many problems.  DO NOT WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSONELIMINATE THE WORD “I”, “we”, “they”, “our(‘s)”, or “their(‘s)” .

F.  DATA ANALYSIS

This IS the most important section of the paper.  This section should be a minimum of 1,000 words.  This section MUST include the STATISTICAL ANALYSIS of the information collected by the research.   This analysis requires using “Raw Numbers” (actual number results).  The optional way (actually more scientific) is to present the “Raw Numbers” and “Percentages”.  DO NOT WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSONELIMINATE THE WORD “I”, “we”, “they”, “our(‘s)”, or “their(‘s)” .

  1. Your paper should report and address ALL the results and statistics found for EACH QUESTION.
  2. It should also include analysis for each question stating what your data means for the answers you found for that question. 
  3. You should re-integrate any information from your literature review that substantiates or refutes your findings.
  4. Discuss any pertinent parts of your hypothesis here.  Was your hypothesis proven correct or incorrect.
  5. Make sure you remove numbers (#’s) for questions.  Do not say “Question #1…” or “#1…”.  Restate the question.

****Most students do well with the reporting of the data.  The biggest problem I see with this section is the lack of critical analysis.  That is the MOST IMPORTANT portion of any research.  Getting back to Weber’s “Sociological Imagination” – WHY did you get those results?***

G. DATA SHEET

This sheet would sum up the answers for each question.  Filling in a blank questionnaire with the statistics you collected provides a good tool for a data sheet.  The data should be presented in raw numbers (actual results), or raw numbers and percentages (best).  Simply take a blank copy of your questionnaire and save it as a file.  Type the results into the survey and you have produced a very simple spreadsheet of your data.  This is a very simple way for a reader to be able to see all of your data at a glance.  This allows the readers to see your all of your exact questions and all of the responses.

H. CONCLUSIONS

This section will be only about 125 – 250 words.  What is the significance of the study?  Was the hypothesis correct or incorrect and why?  What are the significant and important aspects of this study? What are future concerns might be studied based on the results of your research?  DO NOT WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSONELIMINATE THE WORD “I”, “we”, “they”, “our(‘s)”, or “their(‘s)” .

OPTIONS FOR YOUR QUESTIONNAIRE:

DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION:

Your questionnaire MUST have the following two minimum demographic questions.  You may have more if you desire or require:

Age:____

Sex:  MALE ___  FEMALE ___

Optional Demographics:  These are other DEMOGRAPHIC CATEGORIES that are often asked in questionnaires.

Marital Status:

Single ___ Married ___ Divorced ___ Widowed ___ Separated ___ Other __________

Number in Family: __________

Family income: __________

Political Party: ______________

Religious Preference: _____________

REMEMBER:  Demographic information DOES NOT count as questions on your questionnaire. 

DEVELOPING YOUR QUESTIONS:

  1. Try BRAINSTORMING questions.  Sit down and write out as many questions as you can think of on the topic (You can always edit and re-organize them later.)
  2. Keep the TOPIC in focus.  Don’t drift off the topic area.
  3. Closed ended questions:  Try to stay with Yes/No or True/False types of questions.  The more options you give people in their answers the harder it is to analyze.
  4. Multiple-choice questions are also good.
  5. Stay away from open-ended questions where the respondent can say anything they want to.
  6. Write out the possible answer fully.  YES not Y.  True not T.  Make sure your directions are clear.  Make it as easy as possible answer the questions

Check:          ____ Yes        ____ No

Or

Circle: A.  Basketball B.  Football C.  Tennis

The following is a sample questionnaire.  It gives you some examples of different types of survey questions.  My suggestion is for you to stay with closed ended questions.  Stay away from open-ended questions.  Open-ended questions will be very hard to analyze.  If you ask 30 people you might get 30 different open-ended answers.  The easiest to do would be a two option closed ended answer like:

 ____ Yes or ____No  

It will simplify results for you and cut down on the amount of math and calculations you have to do.  Remember, the more possible answers you have the more statistics you will have to report and analyze.  I would make all 10 questions like #7, #8, and #9 if I could.

Please view the Powerpoint slide shows available in Blackboard to help you understand the project in more detail.

The following is a sample questionnaire.  I have created it to give you some sample questions.  If I was doing this I would ask all of my questions like #’s 7, 8, & 9 because they are all YES/NO answers and would require the least amount of math to record and analyze the results.

I would avoid questions # 2 and 6 because they are ranking questions and require a much more sophisticated analysis of Data.  I would also avoid a question like #10 which is an open ended question that is very difficult to analyze.

SAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRE:

VICTOR VALLEY COLLEGE QUALITY OF EDUCATION STUDY:

DEAR RESPONDENT:  As part of a Sociology 1 class at Victor Valley College I am doing a survey of the Quality of Education here.  Please answer the questions as honestly as possible.

What is your current age:____ Please circle your gender/sex:  Female   Male

Please check your current Marital Status:

Single ___ Married ___ Divorced ___ Widowed ___ Separated ___ Other ___________

How many members are in your family? _______ What is your family income? __________

1.  How many units are you currently enrolled in? (Please check)

___ 0-3 units ___4-6 units ___7-9 units ___9-12 units ___13-15 units ___16-18 units ___19 + units

2.  Please write a number between 1 and 5 next to each item below.  Put a 1 next to the item that is MOST important to you and a 5 next to the item that is the least important to you. (Avoid these types of questions.)

I enrolled at VVC because my goal is to:

___ transfer to a 4-year college.

___ complete of technical/vocational program.

___ take specific courses for self-interest.

___ obtain retraining for a new job skill.

___ Other:____________________________________________________________________________

3.  I feel the quality of instruction at VVC is generally:  (Select ONE answer)

___ (1)Excellent ___ (2)Good ___ (3)Average ___ (4)Poor (5)___ Terrible

4.  I feel the quality of service at VVC is generally:  (Select ONE answer)

___ (1)Excellent ___ (2)Good ___ (3)Average ___ (4)Poor (5)___ Terrible

5.  I feel the parking situation at VVC is:  (Select ONE answer)

___ (1)Excellent ___ (2)Good ___ (3)Average ___ (4)Poor (5)___ Terrible

6.  Please write a number between 1 and 7 next to each item below.  Put a 1 next to the item that is MOST important to you and a 7 next to the item that is the least important to you. (Avoid these types of questions.)

I feel the biggest problem in receiving an education at VVC is:

___ Cost

___ Not enough sections of classes

___ Size of classes

___ Registration

___ Counseling

___ Transportation

___ Other: ___________________________________________________

7.  Would you like to see more 8-week (short-term) courses offered at VVC? ___Yes ___No

(It is strongly recommended that you use yes-no types of closed ended questions like these – 7, 8, and 9)

8.  Would you like to see more online classes offered at VVC? ___Yes ___No

9.  Did you vote in the last Associated Student Body election? ___Yes ___No

10.  Why did you choose Victor Valley College over other schools? (Avoid these types of open ended questions.) 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your time.

SOC 101 16 Week – Research Paper – Tashima

CHECKLIST FOR COMMON PROBLEMS OF RESEARCH PAPERS:

Please use this checklist to make sure you have completed your paper correctly and will not have made errors that could cost you valuable points.

____  Make sure your topic is acceptable.  An unacceptable topic is AN AUTOMATIC REDUCTION  OF 30 POINTS.

____  Make sure you used the TOPIC HEADINGS of the Scientific Method.  If you did not use topic headings there will be an AUTOMATIC DEDUCTION OF 30 POINTS.

____  You must have a reference/bibliography page.  There will be an AUTOMATIC DEDUCTION OF 20 POINTS IF IT IS MISSING.

____  Make sure your reference citations are complete.  Failure to have complete citations will mean an AUTOMATIC DEDUCTION OF 10 POINTS.

____  Quotes over 3 lines in length should be indented from both margins.  

____  Make sure you have a citation ALL information that you have copied or summarized.  Especially if it is not common knowledge such as dates, statistics, facts, etc.

____  Make sure your footnotes/endnotes/citations are complete.

____  Make sure you remove numbers (#’s) for questions in your Hypothesis and Data Analysis sections.  Don’t just say “On question #1 people said…” – RESTATE the QUESTION.

____  AVOID using a dictionary or encyclopedia (This includes ONLINE Dictionaries or Encyclopedias) as a reference.   These reference books are not college level research sources.  

____  AVOID using the textbook as a reference.  Remember you are doing research.  You are expected to read the text. 

____  College research papers usually do not include pictures.  If used, pictures DO NOT count as text pages.

____  Graphs and charts do not count as text pages.  Graphs and Charts must be cited unless you have created them from your personal research.

____  Eliminate the first person from your paper.  REMOVE the word “I”, “we”, “they”, “our(‘s)”, or “their(‘s)”  from your paper.

____  Make sure your paper is neatly typed and proofread your paper.  Make sure your paper is at least 2,000 words of manuscript.  Short papers will be penalized.  

____  A COPY of your paper MUST be turned in to the Discussion Board in Blackboard on the due date . This is the copy that will be graded.  

____  Your paper MUST also be submitted to Turnitin.com. If your paper is not submitted to Turnitin.com you will receive “0” points.

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