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Social Issues Paper – Detailed Instructions

This set of instructions contains all information that has been included in the syllabus and more. It breaks down the assignment in detail and lays out exactly what is expected.

Social Issue Paper, 4-5 pages + cover page and references: The final paper is a critical sociological analysis of a topic discussed in the course. For this assignment students are required to link their chosen topic with a specific social policy, institution, organization (for- profit or not-for-profit), movement, or real life event that has had a significant impact on contemporary Canadian society. Students must have their topic approved by a TA. Time will be given in class to discuss how to choose a social issue example and other detailed instructions for the assignment. A formal grading sheet is available on school website.
Formal Grading Sheet:
1. Proper Style and Format
– The paper is produced in an academic tone – Clarity if expression, quality of writing, uses sociological vocabulary – Grammar and spelling – The paper and cover page follows the formatting requirements – The paper is 4-5 pages long
Maximum mark: 2.5

2. Structure and Organization
Thesis statement is clear and focused – Structure is clear, develops an argument that is easy to follow – Logical development of the discussion from one idea to the next – Succinct, lack of repetition – Proper use of paragraphs and subheadings – Introduction provides context for the essay, summarizes the arguments in an essay map, is of adequate length (half to one page) – Conclusion negotiates the perspectives in the paper so that the reader is left with a clear impression of the main points (half page)
Maximum mark: 5

3. Proper Use and Relevance of Research
Uses sociological references – Draws out meaningful arguments from the readings – Includes the most relevant readings and evidence derived from the real world social issue example – All contentions are backed up by appropriate literature – Enough sources are used in each paragraph or section to support the arguments – Does not rely heavily on direct quotations
Maximum mark: 5

4. Level of Analysis and Substantive Adequacy
Displays insight and sound knowledge of the topic / social issue – Accuracy of terms and concepts, demonstrates understanding of course material – Makes conceptual connections between topics presented in the course readings, lectures, and tutorials – Explored the topic with adequate depth – Prioritizes analysis over summary
Maximum mark: 10

5. References and Citations
In-text citations are correct and consistent – References are structured correctly according to the APA reference format
Maximum mark: 2.5

How much is the Social Issues Paper worth?
– The paper is worth 15% of your final grade for the course.

How long does it have to be?
– The paper needs to be 4-5 pages not including the Cover Page or Reference List.

When is the paper due?
– Extensions requested within one week of the due date will not be granted without official documentation (medical note, accident report, obituary, etc.).

– Late assignments will only accepted up to seven (7) after the due date with one (1) late mark removed per day (out of a total of 25 marks).

What am I supposed to do for my paper?
– The main idea of this assignment is to link a topic presented in the course to a specific real-life event, policy, institution, organization, or social movement. Your real-life example needs to have had a significant impact on contemporary Canadian society (see the Main Body section for more detail). YOU MUST HAVE YOUR TOPIC AND REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE APPROVED BY A TA. It can be a TA of your choice.

– Be sure to write from a sociological perspective. Remember, your paper needs to tell the reader something about the social world. This includes the meaning that people attach to their experiences and the conditions that influence their lives. It also refers to people’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours (social norms and culture) in relation to each other and to the broader social structure.

How do I choose a real life example?
– Your topic must be illustrated by a real life example. Your real life example can be:
– an event (e.g. a protest, annual conference, political debate, etc.)
– a news item (e.g. crime, crisis, accident, news report, etc.)
– a piece of legislation or social policy (e.g. a law or bill, cuts or increases to public funding, social programs or services, etc.)
– an organization (e.g. non-profit, charity, NGO, service organization, hotline, activist group, religious group, etc.)
– a company or industry (e.g. social responsibility, charitable donations, fair trade, etc.)

Some examples:
TOPIC: commodification, consumption, social inequality
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Patagonia (environmental & social responsibility)

– TOPIC: commodification of health, social inequality, social class
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: the pharmaceutical industry

– TOPIC: Missing and murdered Indigenous women, prejudice & discrimination, gender
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Families of Sisters in Spirit (local organization)

– TOPIC: sexuality, social change, prejudice & discrimination
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Bill C-38 (same sex marriage legislation)

– TOPIC: racism, social inequality, prejudice & discrimination
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Black Lives Matter movement

– TOPIC: social class, poverty
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Canada Without Poverty (NGO)


**The Social Issues Paper is a formal academic paper. You use proper referencing and citations following APA format.

How are in-text citations different from the Reference List?
– In-text citations are placed throughout your paper to indicate precisely where you are getting your information.

– You can cite after a sentence.
Example: “… are developed to deal with the issue (Dill, 2009).”

– You can cite within a sentence.
Example: “Karen Dill (2009) notes an interesting paradox…”

– If you are citing a direct quote you must also include the page number where the quote can be found.
Example: “Foucault (1976) has argued, ‘Where there is power, there is resistance’ (p. 60).”

– A Reference List is placed at the end of your paper on a separate page. It is a list of all the sources you used in your paper in alphabetical order.

– Introductions are usually half to three-quarters of a page long. Your introduction may be a little longer, but should not be longer than a page.

– Your introduction should outline which topic you have chosen and link it to the specific real life example. Your thesis statement will identify the main idea, claim, or central point of your paper.

– Your introduction should also include an “essay map.” It should give the reader a clear idea of what you’ll be talking about in your term paper and when.

– “My paper will begin by discussing _________”

– “Then I will move on to _________”

– “I will then explore _________ in more detail.”

– “Here, I will focus on ________”

– “I will conclude with _________”

Main Body
– The main body of your paper is where you will:
– develop you argument;
– back up opinions with evidence;
– provide more detailed information on your topic;
– make clear and relevant associations between your main topic and other topics covered by the course; and
– establish the link between your topic and real-life example.

– Please note that any opinions or arguments you make in your paper MUST be backed up by evidence from either an academic source or literature from your real-life example (ex: information from an organization’s website).

– Your writing should be focused and clear. The point to explore your main topic in-depth; don’t try to cover too much ground by jumping around from topic to topic.

– Your real-life example if meant to illustrate your main topic and provide the reader with a clear idea of what your topic looks like in the real world. The point here is to link your example with concepts, key terms, and theories from the course (ex: How does this affect real people in everyday life? What are people actually doing about this?).

– Be sure to explain why you chose your real-life example and explain how it is significant to your main topic. Also, explain how this example has made an impact on contemporary Canadian society.

– This is where you wrap up. Your conclusion should contain the main conclusion you’ve reached in your discussion. It should reiterate your thesis statement and demonstrate how your paper has been successful in defending it.

– This is also a place where you can make recommendations, if you have any. For example, it could be a specific course of action that you think should be taken (indicate why and by whom). Or you could mention areas you think need more research.

– Your conclusion should not simply be a repeat of what you’ve said in your paper already. In summarizing the points you’ve made, please use fresh language.

– Most conclusions are half to three-quarters of a page (no longer than a page).

Reference List
– Your reference list should contain all of the sources you used to write your paper. The minimum requirement is 3 references (sources may include research articles, books, videos, etc.). You may have more, but not less. Having less than 3 will result in marks taken off.

D’Elia, G., Jorgensen, C., Woelfel, J., & Rodger, E. J. (2002). The impact of the Internet on public library use: An analysis of the current consumer market for library and Internet services. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 53(10), 808-820.

– At least 2 out of your 3 resources in your bibliography must be from academic sources. They must also be Canadian sources.

– Please make sure the research you include is current (for example, 2009 not 1989). If you use research that is more than 10 years old you need to justify why this research is still relevant.

Cover Page
– Please verify the correctness of your information and spelling!

Required Format
– Font: Times New Roman
– Font Size: 12
– Spacing: 2.0 (double spaced), indent new paragraphs (do NOT skip a line)
– Margins: 1” (2.54cm)

**Pay attention to formatting! Marks will be taken off for not following the format requirements.

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