Description of the Final Research Essay: Your research paper will present your carefully reasoned and well-supported answer to a carefully articulated analytic question that relates directly to the course theme about the 2020 election. Your goal will be to carefully explore and develop a thesis claim that explores a sociological perspective on one major issue of the election. Your paper must include:
- a thesis that makes a fresh/interesting/compelling claim about the issue on which you are focusing;
- analysis that thickens and clarifies your sociological understanding of the topic and provides meaningful answer(s) while also raising meaningful questions related to your research question;
- substantial evidence from secondary and primary sources to support your claims;
- a literature surveyâ€”i.e., include summaries of what other credible writers have said about the topic you are investigating (you might summarize key research in an overview section at the beginning of your essay, or emphasize others’ research as you are developing your thesis throughout the essay);
- valid reasoningâ€”sound logic and acknowledgement of different ways to answer the research question.
Topic Requirements: Your final essay must develop a response to a genuine analytical research question that you have posed about some aspect of the course theme. You will be exploring news articles and other sources during the first few weeks of the quarter to provide a starting point (and likely eventual sources) for your final essay. The research process will involve investigating the answer to your carefully composed research question mostly using secondary sources but you are also welcome to use primary or field sources in your project. Your final essay will need to be organized carefully to flesh out the response to your question, but please be aware that I do not consider there to be a single right way to organize an academic research essay. Your response might be organized around historical sociological analysis in response to a why question, or it might take the shape of comparison/contrast or problem/solution analysis. Your question and response must have sufficient focus and complexity to support a 8-10 page in-depth discussion, that involves a variety of sociological views and/or solutions, and that will be meaningful to your audience. Your topic and research question must be approved by us.
Length: 8-10 pages not counting outline, images (if you use any) and Works Cited pages
Sources: Your paper must incorporate and cite research you have gathered from at least 8 different sources, following the source requirements listed in the Task #4 description below. Your source material should include:
- information (e.g., facts, statistics, examples)
- ideas and opinions of knowledgeable people, reflecting more than one viewpoint
- a mix of objective (authoritative) and subjective (authentic) observations
Audience: You will write your paper for a general college (undergraduate) audience.
Format: Use correct MLA format for layout, quotations, citations, and a Works Cited page.
MLA style guidelines do not require a formal cover page for research essays. For this course, please include a short (one page max) topic outline as the front page of your final essay. Start pagination for your essay after the brief outline.