This information was given in my syllabus for Educational Policy 114, Community Problems. The text book we used was “Kendall, Diana (2013).Social Problems in a Diverse Society. (6th ED). Boston, MA:Pearson
Research Paper/Oral Presentation
The research paper will discuss and analyze a social problem of your choosing and examine potential solutions for this problem. This can be a problem we covered in class or otherwise (contact me). The social problem you choose can be general (e.g. “problems in education”) or more specific (e.g. “school financing” or “school violence”). This paper is a minimum of 5 pages long and doubled-spaced (12 pt. font). The paper will include a cover page, page numbers, and a reference page (these are not part of the 5 page minimum). The references can be books, journal articles, articles from the web, newspapers, or personal interviews. You also must use APA style when writing your paper. A brief class presentation is required of your paper (including a handout) at the end of the semester.
More specifically, your research paper will:
1. Choose a social problem you are interested in learning more about and solving.
2. Explore the various factors related to this social problem.
3. Discuss the hidden and obvious social forces that affect the social problem.
4. Find and analyze at least 3 current event reports related to your social problem.
5. Create potential strategies for reducing your chosen social problem.
6. Research strategies that are being used to reduce the problem.
7. Assess all strategies/solutions in terms of their effectiveness and practicality for actually being implemented (are they “realistic” or “idealistic”).
Content/Formatting Guidelines for Research Paper (suggested)
• Title page-title of paper, name and course.
• Introduction/Overview-The introduction is where you clearly state the social problem you are researching. The introduction should “grab” the reader’s attention and make people want to read the entire paper. It should also give a brief overview of the problem, and why it is a problem. The introduction should give the reader and idea of what you are going to say in the paper. Typically, the introduction is from 1-2 paragraphs to 1 page long. Longer introductions tend to “lose” the reader and become boring. Nevertheless, there are not “hard rules” on introductions. Consider writing this section last.
• The “body” or main part of your paper should be divided by topic into stated sections and even subsections. “Good papers” are organized this way in order to maintain a sense of coherence and order. For example, if your social problem is “Problems in Education,”you might have a section on school financing, school violence, immigration and schools, etc. A subsection of school financing might include a section about “school vouchers.” You will also need a section that discusses your potential strategies/solutions for reducing your social problem. Papers that are not divided into sections, typically become “messy,” incoherent, and generally hard to read. However, each section should “flow” or transition logically into the next so that your paper does not become “many separate papers” enclosed within a single paper. The number of sections you have will depend on your topic. Finally, I am interested in your understanding of your topic and ability to articulate your awareness of the issues which surround the social problem as well as potential strategies/solutions for reducing the problem.
• Conclusion-The conclusion is the final summary section of your paper. In this section, you should return to the main themes and issued developed in the introduction. You may also discuss what you have learned during your research. Has your opinion or presuppositions changed in any way? Generally, for a paper of this length, your conclusion should be a paragraph to a page or so. The length will depend on the complexity of your topic.
• References- When you refer to an author’s writing, you must give her/him credit by listing their last name and year at the end of a sentence (Smith, 1995) or before as “Smith (1995) suggests.” If you use a direct quote you must provide a page number at the end of the quote. The reference section of your paper must be in alphabetical order. For examples on how to cite various types of text (journal articles, books, interviews, etc.) refer to the back of your textbook and APA style guidelines. You must include reference/citations and address the 7 points listed above.