Your Final Paper should include a problem statement or description of the social problem you have selected, a discussion of the scope and consequences of the problem, and an assessment of society’s responses to the problem (including public policies and other less formal responses). Papers should also present a clearly reasoned alternative that is supported by scholarly research.
While the following example can be modified to suit your needs, using this outline as a guide will likely result in a high quality final paper:
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- Describe the social problem.
- Explain why this problem qualifies as a social problem.
- Indicate the sociological theory or theories that may explain this social problem.
- Discuss the individual and social implications of this problem. Your discussion of implications should be supported by accurate research data.
- Summarize what social science experts have to say about this social problem. Are their conclusions methodologically sound?
- Explain what we, as a society, have done about this problem, considering public policies and other less formal responses.
- Explain how well societal efforts to solve the social problem are working.
- Describe an alternative.
- Discuss why the alternative is, or can be, an effective response to the problem. Remember to consider negative consequences of the alternative response.
- Conclude with reflections and thoughts about your chosen social problem.
Academic Research Reminder: Academic research papers must meet university level standards of quality recognized by the academic community. What constitutes quality, academic research?
- Primary (original) sources written by experts in the field of study.
- Secondary sources supported by research in primary sources.
- Credible sources (experts in the field; well-known theorists; sources which use primary and secondary sources to support claims).
- Relevant research (materials are pertinent to the area of study).
- In graduate work, the use of peer-reviewed journal articles (journal articles reviewed by recognized experts in the relevant field of study) is required.
- Educational and government websites (those ending with a web URL suffix of .edu or .gov) may be appropriate in some cases but should be evaluated carefully.
Writing the Final Paper
The Final Paper:
- Must be five to seven double-spaced pages in length, and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
- Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
- Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
- Must use at least five scholarly resources, including a minimum of three from the Ashford Online Library.
- Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.