Each student will write a paper that consists of a summary and analysis of a current social issue that is reported in professional news publications; e.g., New York Times. (If you are concerned about the quality of a news source, please ask the professor. The paper must contain four parts:
1) summary of the topic and its coverage in the article;
2) the “sociology” of the topic, including
a) using the sociological imagination, describe the reason(s) why this an issue for sociologists to consider,
b) identify the scale(s) of the social world that are being/will be most impacted by the news and explain that impact,
c) discuss how sociologists could generate additional research on this topic;
3) a critical review of the article – NOT the topic; e.g., discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the article (see the guide for writing critical reviews on Canvas); and,
4) a reference list of at least three legitimate academic and professional sources (e.g., books and journal articles), in addition to any you reference from the course. The references must be in a professional citation style.
Your grade will be based upon the demonstration of relevant research, the level of analytical and critical thinking conveyed, and spelling/grammar/formatting. Reference related material from the course readings as you write your paper, and provide your own research on the issue from at least three legitimate academic and professional sources, in addition to any you reference from the course (e.g., books and journal articles). References must be cited within the text and a bibliography provided at the end of the paper. If you are not familiar with another professional citation style (e.g., MLA, Chicago), use the American Sociological Association (ASA) style guide, which is available at: http://www.calstatela.edu/library/guides/3asa.pdf. The papers must be submitted through Turnitin no later than due date listed in the syllabus. The paper must be at least 1400 words. Failure to meet the minimum word count results in a score of zero for the paper.
You need to provide at least four reference sources, and you should provide as many sources as necessary to adequately address the issue that is typically missing quite a bit of information due to the length of the news article. For example, if your paper is on event that happened in the past, you can provide an update on new or related information that has occurred since the time the article was written. Use your judgment, and just ask if you are uncertain. Some excellent academic journals that likely have research related to your topic are: American Sociological Review (ASR), Social Forces, or Sociological Perspectives (all are available through electronically through the library, search for them by entering the name of the journal in the “Find:” box at the Journals section of the library search engine on the main web page http://www.sjcny.edu/Library, see below).
Enter journal name here. For example, if searching in the journal Social Forces, you would enter Social Forces here
Grammar issues that often occur but should not: 1) using unproved, grandiose statements, such as “this social problem has existed for ever and always will; 2) unsupported statements of fact, such as “everyone believes…”; 3) using vague and unprofessional descriptives, such as “a lot” and “huge”; 4) failure to proofread, resulting in missing punctuation, extra spaces, etc. Also, the correct location for commas, periods, and question marks is before the second quotation mark; e.g., “the use of non-scientific jargon,” and….; while semicolons and colons appear after the second quotation mark: e.g., he remarked that it was a “long day”; however, …..
You would cite books in the following ways:
Within the body of the paper:
…as the authors discussed the issue of political economy (Eitzen, Zinn, and Smith 2012: 25).
In the bibliography:
Eitzen, D. Stanley, Maxine Baca Zinn, and Kelly Eitzen Smith. 2012. Social Problems, 12th Edition (Census Update). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.