Final paper guidelines
Length: 1600 words (approx. 6-7 pages), typed, double-spaced, with title page
Due: date given in class
Assignment: Do an analysis of a social phenomenon of your choosing.
You must use at least five academic sources, and include a bibliography formatted in ASA or MLA style. (If you are using more than eight academic sources you are probably researching outside the intended scope of the paper.) Texts from the course may count as one academic source. You may use as many non-academic sources as you choose.
You are encouraged to get your topic reviewed by the instructor by submitting a proposal that includes your topic, examples, sources, and a set of questions that you intend to use to guide your research. Do not submit a proposal that does not include all of these.
Some guiding questions/suggestions:
• What is the phenomenon you have identified? In what ways is it a problem or phenomenon of interest to a wider audience? Who is affected by this phenomenon and in what ways? How might it be a public issue?
• You want to make sure and formulate the objective characteristics/dimensions of the phenomenon as well as the subjective characteristics/dimensions.
• Provide some statistics associated with your phenomenon (e.g., poverty lines, literacy rates, hours of television watched per day, etc.).
• Formulate the subjective meaning of the problem. How is it experienced by the actor, and how is it experienced by members of society. What is the meaning and value of the problem or phenomenon? How has this meaning and value been developed over time?
• How is the problem related to a reading in our text? What perspective or combination of perspectives might best be used in your analysis? How are you using them?
• Provide clear and concrete examples of the problem or phenomenon.
• Can you identify various “interest groups” who have a stake in the issue or problem?
• How is the problem or phenomenon represented in the mass or popular media? How is the phenomenon “constructed” by and through the media?
• How are we encouraged to respond to the problem or phenomenon?
• What are the limits to these imagined solutions or responses?