RESEARCH PAPER INSTRUCTIONS
Students will use published, scholarly research and, where appropriate, narrative accounts, to write a research paper according to the standards and conventions of the social scientific discipline of Sociology, thereby learning
• critical thinking, reading, and reflection
• social scientific research and writing
• library research skills
• to distinguish between scholarly and non-scholarly sources
• to critically evaluate the relevance of sources for research papers
• to develop a cogent, logical, and organized discussion of a topic
• to develop an intersectional analysis that incorporates “indigenized” scholarship
• to apply the ASA method of citation
• to develop and present a reference list
• to develop an awareness and understanding of ethical scientific practice through full and open disclosure of sources of information in research
STEP 1: Learning to Collect, Analyze, and Synthesize Secondary Data
In-class engagement exercises and assignments will help students develop capacity for undertaking social scientific writing and research. Students will attend an orientation to KPU’s library collections, databases, and other sources of information that are most relevant to sociology students. A librarian will provide an interactive lecture and assignment to allow students to learn and apply research skills. Effective use of academic libraries is essential for every social scientist. Librarians are our guides and allies in this aspect of the research process.
Students should come with relevant questions and be prepared to complete a short library assignment that will allow students to gauge the effectiveness of their library research skills.
STEP 2: Choosing a Topic
Your research topic must:
• be sociological and appropriate in scope and breadth
• move beyond mere description to provide analysis of the central concern
• be developed into a clear research question to guide the research process and ensure that you have a logical and cohesive argument to advance in your paper
• be presented as a clear thesis statement in the introduction of your paper
As Canada is currently engaged in the process of “reconciliation” (see instructions for group project) students will be focusing on residential schools and the reconciliation process for their research projects. Students may choose to research the same or related topic as that chosen by their group. Students may choose a topic from the following list:
• What have been the social effects of the residential school system for Aboriginal children on the survivors? Their families? Their nations? Aboriginal peoples as a whole? (choose each one as a separate question)
• What have been the social effects of colonization on Aboriginal peoples?
• What kinds of gender roles were taught and modeled in residential schools?
• What were the social effects of residential schools on Indigenous patterns of gender roles?
• What is the relationship between residential schools and violence against Native women today?
• What have been the long term social effects of physical and sexual abuse on children in residential schools?
• Analyze the history of Indigenous peoples’ mobilization against colonization by Canada
• What is the relationship between victimization in residential schools and social problems faced by survivors today?
• What social factors explain why most Canadians don’t know about the residential school system for Aboriginal children?
• What social factors led to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Canada)?
• What are the major social problems faced by Aboriginal residential school survivors today?
• What are Indigenous land rights and why are they central to understanding Canadian society?
SOCIOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONS OF ANY OTHER TOPIC ARE ACCEPTABLE.
WHETHER OR NOT A TOPIC IS CHOSEN FROM THE ABOVE LIST, STUDENTS MUST CONFIRM THEIR TOPIC WITH THE INSTRUCTOR.
STEP 3: Selecting Sources of Information
Social scientific papers require valid, reliable, and scholarly sources of information. Nonscholarly sources (eg. Magazines, newspaper articles, pamphlets, self-help books, training manuals, Wikipedia) cannot be used to advance a main point of your argument or hypothesis, but may be used to illustrate points made in the scholarly literature. Sociological research:
• reflects a scientific focus or method of inquiry
• provides a full and open disclosure of all outside sources
• includes a full reference list that provides complete documentation of sources of information
• typically appear in peer-reviewed journals
• is also done by government agencies, community organizations, think tanks, NGOs, and other non-academic organizations
• is not always found by “Google searches”
If you are unsure of whether or not to use a particular source in your paper, err on the side of caution, or have your sources approved by your instructor. When selecting sources of information, ensure that:
• you can understand and summarize the main themes/arguments
• you can identify whether or not the source is scholarly
• you can identify the author’s sources of information
• the source is sociological and relevant to Canadian society
• the source is not a duplicate of information you already have
• you know where or how you will use the source in your paper
For this assignment, students are required to use a minimum of 3 scholarly sources in their papers:
• you may draw upon your text as a source of scholarly research
• scholarly sources provided in class may be used to satisfy the minimum requirement of four scholarly sources
• narrative accounts of members of oppressed groups are important sources of research that give voice to those who are often silenced in mainstream research and scholarship
STEP 4: REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PAPER
1. A minimum of three scholarly references are required. If you use less than three sources you will get a “D” or less on the assignment. If your sources are not scholarly, it will decrease your mark on the assignment.
2. A thesis statement that clearly indicates the focus and thrust of your discussion must be clearly presented within the abstract (see #5). It should also be part of the introduction of the paper. Failure to provide a thesis statement will result in a loss of marks.
3. Papers must be formatted using the following rules:
a. The components of the paper must be organized and presented in the following order: title page, abstract page, text of paper, reference list
b. 3-4 pages of text, typed and double-spaced (does not include cover page, abstract page, and reference list page)
c. 1” margins on the top, bottom and sides
d. Indent each paragraph and do not leave an extra line between paragraphs
e. 12-point font is required
f. Do not go more than half a page over the maximum length of 4 pages
g. You will get a “D” or less if your paper is less than 3 pages
h. Your name should only appear on the cover page of the paper
i. ASA method of documentation must be used to cite references in the text of the paper and in the reference list (see library citation guide on ASA)
4. A separate cover page is required. The title of the paper should appear on the cover page. Below the title, indicate the student’s name, course number and section, instructor’s name, and the due date of the assignment.
5. An abstract is required. Write a one-paragraph summary of your research paper that explains your thesis statement, main findings, and conclusions. This is called an abstract and it should be no more than one short paragraph. The abstract should be written on a separate page and inserted between the title page and the first page of the essay.
6. A reference list (bibliography) is required. Write the reference list on a separate page that is inserted after the last page of the paper. No reference list = a failing grade on the assignment.
7. Staple the pages together in the top lefthand corner.
8. The paper must be written by the student (please see KUC’s policy on plagiarism and cheating). Be ethical and professional in your research and writing.
9. The paper must be legible, typed, and based on sound grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and sentence/paragraph structure. It is good practice to use a writing guide, dictionary, and thesaurus when writing a paper.
10. Give it your best effort and give yourself credit for making time to develop the skills needed to accomplish this paper. These skills will help you in all your future writing and research endeavors.
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