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SOC106 - Introduction to Sociology - Smith: Your Assignment

Your Research Assignment

Research Report Guidelines 

Learning Objective:

After completing this assignment, students should have gained a better understanding why there is a need for sociological research, getting familiar with the “Research Model,” learning how to use credible academic sources from library databases, and gaining a critical thinking perspective on a sociological topic of their interest.

The Assignment:

Please follow each of these steps to develop your paper. The paper is develop following the steps one to five of the scientific research model (see textbook pp. 20 - 32). Please follow the textbook definition and examples:

1. Topic: Pick a general sociological topic of your interest. For instance, poverty, racial discrimination, child abuse, crime, sexual assault, racism, etc. You can go back to Module 5 and review the video lecture on “How Sociologist Do Research.”

2. Problem Definition (Question) and Introduction: 1) start this section with a question as the problem definition. State a specific question on your topic. Example: If the general topic is child abuse, a good question can be: How does child abuse impact children’s performance in school? 2) provide a brief background and definition about the topic, here you need an in-text citation to indicate a source of this information; 3) indicate why it is important for you and for society to expand on the knowledge of your question; 4) provide preliminary facts to make the case (or the point) that the question you want to research is social problem that we need to learn more about. If the example is about child abuse, a good fact could be the number of cases of child abuse reported annually in the country or something factual you have found that indicates a negative correlation between child abuse and school performance, again you need an in-text citation to indicate the source of those facts.

This section should be a minimum of 250 words. The sources used in this section can be reliable sources from the Internet or from databases such as Credo Reference.

3. Literature Review: Find five (5) peer-reviewed sources from the library databases that answer your question and write an annotated bibliography of a minimum 150 words for each of them. An annotated bibliography is a short summary of the article (in your own words, do not copy and paste) plus an indication about why that source is good to answer your question. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader about the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. 

4. Hypothesis: State a hypothesis for your question. A hypothesis is “a statement of what you expect to find according to predictions from a theory” (Henslin 21). Also, it can be defined as what you consider is your best guess to answer your question. For this section define a hypothesis and the variables that you would measure. See the example of a hypothesis and its variables in the textbook. From the above question, a hypothesis can be: There is a direct correlation between child abuse and poor school performance. Variables: child abuse and school performance. Please notice that the topic, the question, and the hypothesis should align.

5. Research method: Choose a research method that you would use if you were going to collect the data to test whether or not the hypothesis is true and explain why you would pick that method. Follow the textbook (pp. 22 - 32) to pick a method.

6. Personal Response: React about what you have learned from the process of doing the assignment. Indicate what you have learned about the topic and from the process of conducting the research.

  • Use the following questions to guide your reaction:
  • Did you find the answer to your question? Explain.
  • How each of the reviewed sources are responding to your question?
  • What do you consider is the most relevant source answering your question and why?
  • What did you learn about your topic/question that you did not know before?
  • What is the most important thing you learned from the process of doing the assignment?
  • What was difficult about the process of conducting this research?
  • Add any other reactions that think are pertinent to what you learn on your question.

For this section use a minimum of 400 words and at least four (4) MLA in-text citations from the annotated sources to support your arguments (click the right side of the mouse to open link in a new tab).

7. Bibliographic references: List all the bibliographic references you used in the paper, including the ones used in the introduction section if they are different from the five in the annotated bibliographies.

Format:

  • The final version of your report should follow the steps above (use a numbering format and a subtitle for each section).
  • The paper should be typed double-spaced and 12 point font, Times New Roman.
  • Include a list of bibliographic references.
  • Use MLA as the style for the paper.
  • Use formal writing. Do not use contractions (“don’t” should be “do not”; “I’m” should be “I am”). Spelling, grammar, and punctuation count so please proofread your work before turning it in.

If you need assistance with your writing and/or editing, please make an appointment with one of the tutors at the Tutoring Center.

Use the following websites links for help about:

This is an example of how to approach this assignment.

You are asked to pick a specific social topic, conduct research following steps one to five of the scientific research model and produce a written report as follows:

  1. Topic selection and title: propose a title that indicates the topic and suggests the content of the report.
    1. Exploring topics
      1. Look at the news / your textbook / Opposing Viewpoints
    2. Choose a topic that can be researched and interests you
      1. I am interested in looking at the effects of Hurricane Maria on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico
    3. Write down what you know about the topic
      1. I will indicate what I know about where the island is, information about the people who live there and information I know about how the island was impacted by hurricane Hugo in 1989.
    4. I am interested in how the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico was impacted by Hurricane Maria, and if or how the island’s past encounter with Hurricane Hugo helped them prepare for Maria.

    5. List questions that you would like answered to help narrow your topic

      1. How did the (Local, PR & Federal) government prepare and react to this storm?

      2. What safeguards and plans were put in place?

      3. How did Viequenses respond to these plans?

      4. Were they better prepared because of experiences with Hugo?

      5. Do they have access to aid and medical treatment?

      6. How does a community prepare and respond to natural disasters?

  2. Problem Definition (Question) and Introduction
    1. State a specific question on your topic.
      1. What plans and preparations were put in place after a major natural disaster (Hurricane Hugo in 1989) and were they effective in safeguarding the community in subsequent natural disasters (Hurricane Irma and Maria)?
    2. Provide a brief background and definition of the topic 
      1. Search Credo for information about Vieques, hurricanes Hugo and Maria, hurricane preparations.
    3. Provide an in-text citation to indicate a source of this information
      1. MLA in-text citations
      2. MLA formatting quotations 
    4. Indicate why it is important for you and for society to expand on the knowledge of your question
    5. Provide preliminary facts to make the case (or the point) that the question you want to research is a social problem that we need to learn more about.
  3. Literature Review: Find five (5) peer-reviewed sources from the library databases that answer your question
    1. Find five (5) peer-reviewed sources from the library databases that answer your question
    2. Write an annotated bibliography of a minimum 150 words for each of them
      1. An annotated bibliography is a short summary of the article (in your own words, do not copy and paste) plus an indication about why that source is good to answer your question. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader about the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

example of the research question handout

Finding Scholarly Journals

Once you have conducted a search in one of the databases look for options such as, "Academic Journals", "Peer Reviewed" or "Refereed" to limit your search to scholarly journal articles.

   

Collecting Your Sources

emailWhen researching topics for a paper or project, it's important to keep track of the sources you use. The easiest way to do this is to email a source to yourself in the database. This way whenever you come across a source you think you might want to use, you email it and have a record of the source and a way to get the citation when you need it. Most of our databases have an option to email when you're looking at an article, book, or video.