Write a sociological paper that is analytical and critical
Students may pick any topic that deals with any social issue relating to Canadian families. Students are required to
write a sociological paper that is analytical and critical. It is imperative to note that the writing of a sociological
paper requires the primary use of scholarly sociological sources, such as sociological scholarly journals, sociological
books, and sociological edited collections. The paper MUST include a minimum of FIVE sociological scholarly sources
(books, scholarly journal articles) NOT including the course text book and relevant course materials.
The essay should be 7-8 pages in length, with one inch margins, size 12 font, double spaced and stapled, not including
the bibliography or title page. Do not triple or quadruple space between paragraphs. In doing so, you immediately
signify to me that you have not met the minimum length requirements for this paper. Moreover, triple and quadruple
spacing between paragraphs is improper formatting and does not meet the standards of APA or Chicago Style.
Students are required to include a full bibliography of all materials used in the paper. Late papers will not be
accepted without consent from the course director obtained PRIOR to the scheduled due date. Papers will NOT be accepted
via e-mail. Papers will only be accepted in person in class.
Please note that references that are NOT scholarly sources and will NOT count in your bibliography as scholarly sources
include the following:
newspaper articles (i.e., The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, etc.)
magazine articles (Macleans, Newsweek, The Economist, etc.)
encyclopedia references (including Wikipedia)
dictionary references (including Oxford Dictionary and other dictionaries)
non-scholarly websites, blogs, etc.
Students should also note that government websites and statistical data are NOT scholarly sources and will NOT count as
one of the five scholarly sources required for this paper. Government websites and statistical data provide information
that is NOT scholarly and NOT analytical. Statistics denote a social trend but can be interpreted in numerous and
contradictory ways. Statistics themselves are devoid of analysis. Simply stating a statistic does not explain or
explore any critical sociological analysis. Similarly, government websites state government policy that is devoid of
analysis, and usually reproduces mainstream stereotypes, assumptions and misconceptions. Critical sociological analysis
provides a critique of mainstream stereotypes and assumptions. The use of government data requires critical sociological
analysis. Please note that these government websites and statistics include, but are not limited to the following:
Ministry of Immigration and Citizenship
Government of Canada website
Government of Ontario website
Students must get approval from the course instructor for any internet sources they may wish to use. Scholarly journal
articles can be retrieved on-line through the Ryerson Library journal abstracts website, Sociological Abstracts. Sources
acquired on-line through Sociological Abstracts do NOT require instructor permission.
Students should also note that the research paper is a SOCIOLOGICAL paper that requires SOCIOLOGICAL analysis. Scholarly
sources are required to be limited to sociological sources. Scholarly sources that are NOT sociological and will NOT
be counted as part of your FIVE required sociological scholarly sources include:
Nursing journals and books
Medical journals and books
Economic journals and books
Business journals and books
Social work journals and books
Psychology journals and books
Social psychology journals and books
Behavioural science journals and books
Biology journals and books
Genetics journals and books
Papers that do not include a minimum of five scholarly sociological sources will be assigned an automatic failing grade.
Make sure that your sources and your analysis are sociological. Make sure that your sources are SOCIOLOGICAL and NOT
psychological, medical or derived from popular mainstream media. Papers that are written from a psychological, medical
or mainstream popular media perspective will automatically be assigned a failing grade.
Students should never reference lecture notes in their papers. The reference of lecture notes in essays is improper and
shows laziness on the part of the student for failure to research their topic properly. Lectures are based on scholarly
sociological research. Any issue raised in lecture must be referenced in its original scholarly sociological source upon
which the lecture is based. This means that students are required to seek out the original scholarly publication.
Please note that students who do not submit the research paper will automatically fail the course.
Scholarly sociological sources that are ACCEPTABLE are the following:
Race and ethnicity journals and books
Feminist and Womens Studies journals and books
Sociology journals and books
Mass Communications journals and books
Criminology journals and books
Sociology of Education journals and books
Sociology of the Family journals and books
Sociology of Work and Occupations journals and books
Political science journals and books
Political economy journals and books
History journals and books
Possible research topics include but are not limited to the following:
Same sex families
Aboriginal families and colonialism
Ethnic and racialized minority families
New reproductive technologies and Canadian families
Domestic labour and the family in Canada
The gender division of labour and the family
The cult of domesticity
The ideology of motherhood
Women and divorce law in Canada
Divorce and custody in Canada
The family and state policies
Canadian families and poverty
Women, work and childcare issues
The gender division of labour in the family
Spousal abuse and Canadian law
Violence and the family (pick one specific kind of family violence)
Work and the family
Child abuse and Canadian law
Single parent families and poverty in Canada
The ideology of motherhood
Care-giving and the elderly in Canadian families
Grading Criteria for Research Essays:
Your research paper is worth 30% of your final grade and will be evaluated on a 30-point scale based on the following
Content: (15 points) adequately addressing the topic with an emphasis on Canadian families and critical analysis. Do
not summarize and/or describe your research sources, or simply describe a problem. You must argue and support your
thesis. You must engage the sources and critically apply them to your argument (i.e., thesis). Your analysis should
address why and how this social problem/issue occurs. Your paper should emphasize HOW this social phenomenon becomes
normalized in our society. In other words, you need to examine the social process by which this social phenomenon occurs
and is legitimated in our society as normative.
Clarity of Argument: (5 points) focus, direction and logical organization and integration of ideas in a well structured
argument. Do you have a thesis statement? Your paper should have an obvious, clear, concise, one sentence thesis. Your
thesis statement clearly states in one sentence the argument of your paper.
Structure and Organization: (5 points) paper should include the following components:
Introduction: clearly stating your thesis/research argument and the specified points you will be arguing in the paper.
Body of Paper: where you develop your argument with support from your reference sources.
Conclusion: links your main ideas together.
Proper referencing style and grammar: (5 points) Both direct quotes and an authors ideas must be referenced in your
paper. Your paper should not have more than one or two (maximum) direct quotes. The paper should primarily be written
in your own voice with social science citations crediting the scholars to whom those ideas belong. APA is the preferred
referencing style. All referencing citations must include the authors name and the year of the publication. Social
science citations are located as the end of the direct quote or an authors idea. Social science citations are located
inside brackets and include the authors last name, the year of the publication, and the page number. For example,
(Miles, 1989, p. 18). Your references in your bibliography must include the authors name, the year of the publication,
the exact and complete title of the article/book, the publishers name, the city of publication, and (in the case of a
journal article or book chapter) page numbers. Please note that essays that do not include the required FIVE scholarly
sources (as defined in the terms above) will automatically be given a failing grade.
Bibliographic References: The following are examples of proper bibliographic reference styles for books, edited
collections, and journal articles.
Book Reference Example:
Miles, Robert. 1989. Racism. London: Routledge.
Edited Collection Reference Example:
Mitchell, Allyson & Karaian, Lara. 2005. Third Wave Feminisms. In Nancy Mandell (Ed.). Feminist Issues: Race, Class
and Sexuality. Fourth Edition. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada Inc.
Journal Article Reference Example:
MacKinnon, Catherine A. 1983. Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence. Signs: Journal
of Women in Culture and Society. 8(4):635-658.
ESSAY TOPIC AND THESIS STATEMENT INSTRUCTIONS
What is a Thesis? What is a Purpose? What is a Topic Sentence?
Your Essay Topic Proposal and Thesis Statement posting must clearly state your research topic, Thesis Statement,
and two scholarly sociological sources (not including course materials) directly related to your essay topic. The
introductory paragraph of an essay should always contain three specific statements or sentences: 1) the Purpose of the
paper, 2) the Thesis Statement and 3) the Topic Sentence.
You should state the Purpose of your paper in a sentence. In this sentence, tell the reader what you will examine/explore
in your paper. For instance, if I was going to write a paper about foreign domestic workers (also known as live-in
nannies usually from the Philippines or the Caribbean), my statement of Purpose may look like this:
The Purpose of this paper is to explore how the Live-In Caregiver Program oppresses and exploits women of colour.
The Thesis Statement is the one-sentence argument of your paper. This is central to your paper. It is your argument.
Without a Thesis, your paper has no argument. Furthermore, your argument must be based on a position. Be mindful that
this is not the same as a personal opinion. Once you state your Thesis, in the body of your paper, you should critically
and analytically support your argument. Your argument must be based on research (in other words, the use of secondary
scholarly sources). Using the same example, my Thesis might look like the following:
This paper argues that state policies reproduce racism/sexism/classism by exploiting women of colour through the Live-In
Your Thesis Statement should be clear, concise, short, and focussed. It must identify not only the social
problem, but the social structure/power relation that creates, facilitates, or reproduces this social problem. For
example, the social structure or power relation in the thesis example above is state policies. Other examples of
social structures or power relations would be: Canadian immigration policy or patriarchy or patriarchal power
relations, etc. A Thesis Statement should never use the words due to or as a result of. In your thesis statement,
you should also avoid the words, how, discuss, examine, or explore. These terms convey a Purpose, not a Thesis.
If you are using these words, you are not making an argument per se. Importantly, a Thesis is not a Conclusion or
Statement of Findings or Proposed Solution. A Thesis Statement is an argument. Your Thesis Statement should be carefully
The last sentence in your introductory paragraph is the Topic Sentence. A Topic Sentence lists the various
sub-topics you are going to examine/discuss to make your argument. Using the example above, my Topic Sentence would read:
This paper discusses the following sub-issues: 1) racism/sexism/classism and the Live-In Caregiver Program, and 2) the
non-existence of permanent residency status for women of colour and their experiences of legalized exploitation.
Your paper may be based on two or three sub-issues. I am looking for in-depth critical analysis, not superficial
breadth. In other words, I expect students to cover a limited number of issues, with analytical depth. Papers that
briefly mention numerous issues but fail to adequately time analyze these issues will result in a low grade.
Your paper should be written in the third person, not the first person. Do not include any personal experiences.
This is a research paper that relies on scholarly sources. This is not a reflection paper. Do not mention yourself or
use I in the paper.
Citations and Statistics
You are being asked to write a sociological paper. Therefore, in your paper, you must draw on sociological
sources. The course outline defines a sociological source. Please refer to this section of the course outline.
Throughout your paper, you must properly cite any and all ideas and research findings, as well as direct quotes from
other authors. In a 7-8 page paper, you should not use more than one or two direct quotes. Your paper should be written
in your own voice, using social science citations to credit the scholar whose ideas and words you are using. The citation
of scholarly sources and the ideas of other authors (even if you put these ideas in your own words), shows that you have
done research and are providing evidence, analysis, and criticism for your argument. Failure to cite scholarly sources
is considered plagiarism, even if by neglect alone. Make sure, however, that your paper is not littered with direct
quotes after direct quotes. This would make your paper problematic. When you draw on a direct quote, you will need to
first explain and set-up the quote, and then use your own words to explain what the author said and how this is relevant
to your argument and your paper.
Citations in the body of your paper should appear as social science citations in APA style. The following is an
example of a social science citation in APA style for direct quotes: