Instructor: Jill Ann Harrison
Recommended Paper Length: about 9-10 pages (it is okay if it runs longer, try to keep the text portion under 12)
Final Research Paper
DUE: Wednesday June 8th by 2pm. Please hand in a hard copy AT MY OFFICE (PLC 717) and upload a copy to Canvas.
For your assignment to be considered complete, you must turn in the following:
Your fieldnotes and/or:
Your interview summaries
Your peer-review assessment (to be done in class during week 9).
The graded copy of Assignment #1
Your final research paper must have the following sections. I recommend that you use these same headings (i.e., “Introduction,” “Methodology,” etc.) in organizing your own paper. Be sure to staple your paper (including reference page), and staple your fieldnotes as well, and then paper clip your fieldnotes to your paper. Be sure your name is on both your paper as well as your fieldnotes.
If you completed assignment #1, you have already written the front end or your paper (Introduction and Literature Review). You should edit your literature review using the comments and suggestions I provided to you. Please be sure to properly cite both internally and on your reference page.Refer to the handout I will provide to you regarding ASA citation styles (available on Blackboard).
The introduction should consist of a paragraph or two outlining the basic research questions, problems, and/or topics. You should also include a statement regarding why your topic is interesting or relevant to social scientists. It is okay to include statements about why it is important to you, but you need to also provide a statement about your topic’s broader implications. This is an important part of this project: being able to connect your project to course concepts. Use your sociological imagination!
Conceptual Framework (Literature Review)
Here you should discuss how your research questions developed from and/or relate to previous research. This section should include a clear statement of what it is you expect to find upon completion of your fieldwork. And of course, you have already completed this task (or made a good attempt to) with assignment one. Be sure to go back and look at the comments I provided on your graded literature reviews. Also, be sure that you have edited your lit review “for flow”, to ensure that it reads well when you integrate it into this final paper.
In this section, you should explicitly state how your research was accomplished. What is your data? How did you collect and analyze it? This section should be highly detailed, as you want to include your exact methodology. If you are doing participant observation, what strategy did you use (complete participant, participant observation, etc)? How many hours did you do your observation? What was the setting? Approximately how many people did you observe? Who did you observe (age, gender, racial composition)? Was there anything interesting and/or unique regarding the days and times you choose to observe?
If you are doing interviewing, how many folks did you interview? How did you recruit them into the sample? Approximately how long were the interviews? Where did the interviews take place?
Please refer to the Berg article on writing qualitative research for further explanation of what methodology sections should include (and why).
In this section, you will report on what you found in the field. These findings should be connected to the problems or issues you raised in your literature review. Therefore, the questions you need to answer here are: What did you find? What does it mean? What are your conclusions? What evidence (from the field) did you base your conclusions on? It is common for results sections to take the form of a narrative, so use of first person is totally acceptable. You should include direct references to your field notes and your interview data (if you did interviews). Provide good quotes from your interviews and/or field notes to illustrate points. Remember, you are trying to mimic a typical scholarly journal article, like the ones we have read this quarter. Refer to these for style and formatting guidance.
The objective in this concluding section is twofold. First, you will sum up your project. It is okay to be repetitive; most research articles are highly repetitious by nature. Succinctly, what was the purpose of your project, and what did you find? This should be about one paragraph.
Finally, you need to provide a reflexive consideration of your research results. Questions you should address here include: What, personally, did you learn about your topic? Were you surprised by what you found (why or why not?)? What are some limitations of your approach? How might you be able to go about answering your research questions if time and money were not an issue (in an “ideal” research project)? This paragraph or two breaks from what is typically written in a journal article. Nonetheless, include this discussion in your final paper.
Use ASA citation guidelines. Guidelines are posted on Blackboard. You should use this style for both your reference page AND in-text citations. While I did not penalize you for incorrectly citing procedures on the last paper, I will be checking to make sure you have properly cited with this one.