Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to Sociology

Research Paper Guidelines

This research project will provide you with the opportunity to conduct a sociological analysis on a topic of your choosing. You will write a 3-page analysis on the sociological issue of your choice (see suggested ideas below). For this paper, you will need to do some outside research to explore your topic and use course concepts to analyze and organize your findings. You will need at least 3 reputable journal articles as sources in addition to your textbook. You will also need a reference page listing your sources in correct APA format. The length of the paper requires you to condense a lot of material, be sure that you narrow your topic down to workable paper.


Your paper must be typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman.

Your paper should be 3 pages of written text in length. (this does not include the title page or the reference page – meaning that when you finish you should have at least 5 pages).

You must use reputable journal articles as your sources; failure to do so will significantly lower your grade. Use the CPTC library and Galileo to find reputable journal articles.

You must use and incorporate one of the major theories covered in the course.

Format your citations using APA style. The reference page does not count toward the page requirement.

You should be familiar with proper citation, as well as the appropriate use of quotations.

Papers that excessively use quotations will lose points. Your paper should be in your own voice, which means using quotations selectively and only when necessary.

You do not need an abstract. This will not count toward the page requirement.

You do not need an author’s note

You need a cover page for the paper; Follow APA format for the title page.

Proofread your paper. Deductions will be made for excessively poor grammar/proofreading.

Suggestions for selecting a topic: Pick a topic about which you can find information easily (i.e. not something too obscure). Choose something about which you are interested –you will read and write about it for several weeks, so it might as well be something you will enjoy exploring. The following is a list of general subjects from which you might select a specific project topic. This list is very general — use it to spark an idea for a specific, well-developed topic. You need to think through how you will conduct an analysis of your particular topic, what questions you will answer, and what your specific focus will be. Most importantly, be creative and have fun with it.

Gender and religious participation/affiliation

Welfare policies/reform

Teen pregnancy

Self-esteem and teens

Gender images in music (rap, country, pop, folk etc.)

Laws and Policies


Race, Gender, or Class and the legal system

Women in the sciences, engineering, medicine, vet medicine




Domestic violence

Military (Socialization, Group Processes, Gender, Social Control)

Health, illness, and health insurance

Magazines and culture (sports, teen, women’s, men’s etc.)

Gangs – male and/or female


School Violence


Family Structures

Same-sex marriage

Race relations

Environmental concerns, impact, mobilization

Toys, games and gender socialization

Sweatshops/labor use by multinational corporations in 3rd world countries


Historical variations in the construction of gender (middle ages, renaissance, civil war, turn

of the century, 1920’s, WWII, etc.)

Consumption (in one country or compare countries)

Illicit drug use and/or related policies

Aging (look at physical health, financial concerns, widowhood)

Social networks

Mental health


Political affiliation

Once you have selected a topic for your research paper, you need to focus and narrow it into a specific research question. Your question should be one that:

lends itself to sociological analysis

is not a “yes” or “no” question

has more than one plausible answer

you can get the information to answer

is answerable in the page length allotted

Questions to answer for your topic selection & description

Name your topic: I am studying ____________,

Imply your question: because I want to found out who/how/why ____________,

State the rationale for the question and the project: in order to understand how/why what ____________.

State how/which sociological theory provides insight to your topic.

Identify how each article contributes to addressing your topic.

Your paper should follow a general flow, give consideration to writing your introduction, body and conclusion, however keep in mind that you may have subtopics within each. Be sure you stay on topic and fully address your question.

It is very important that you do not write your paper as just a summary of the articles, for example, do not organize your paper and talk about each article one by one. In other words, your paper should include the following basics:

Define your question

Identify why your question is important

Outline what others have found out about your topic (gathered from your articles)

Which sociological theory applies to the topic and explain why

What your conclusions are based upon what you have read


1. Evaluation Process: Paper will be graded in terms of content, insight, originality, analytical skill, organization, clarity of expression, overall presentation style, spelling and grammar, and proper referencing protocols.

2. Plagiarism: students should be aware of the penalties for plagiarism and other form of academic misconduct. Please see the course syllabus and the Coastal Pines Technical College website for the college’s policies on cheating and plagiarism. Evidence of plagiarism from other students’ work or published materials will result in a grade of zero and disciplinary action will be taken.

3. Computer, printer or other technological failures: Unfortunately, these things do happen. However, they will not be accepted as an excuse for not completing the assignment by the due date. In this day and age saying ‘my printer failed,’ ‘my hard drive/flash drive crashed,’ or some other such thing simply isn’t good enough. And it isn’t good enough for one simple reason: you should be backing up your work as you complete it.

4. Submission Protocols: Research projects must be submitted under the “Research Project” tab in BlackBoard. Papers submitted through Coastal Pines email or through BlackBoard mail will not be accepted.