SHORT RESEARCH PAPER GUIDELINES
You will complete a 5-6-page research paper during the semester on a topic that we studied in class. In this paper, you
will identify an aspect of inequality that you are interested in learning about, research that topic and write a paper about it.
Using scholarly academic sources, you will write a research paper about that topic. You may use readings assigned for
class, and you should also do your own research and find four (4) scholarly academic sources that were not assigned for
class. As part of your paper, you will identify an organization that is trying to “solve” that aspect of inequality and explain
Two weeks after we cover that topic. For example, let’s say you want to write a paper about the achievement
gap in education. We cover that topic on Oct. 15, which means your paper is due 2 weeks later — on Oct. 29.
What are “
Scholarly Academic Sources?”
How should I properly
cite my sources? Please use APA style.
Format and organization
1. Your short research paper should start with an
which specifies the topic of research. It should move from a
general discussion of an area of interest to a more narrowly defined issue or set of issues. It should provide answers to
What is the general issue or interest area on which you are writing?
What are the specific questions that you are asking or issues that you intend to explore?
Why are these issues/questions important and sociologically interesting?
2. The body of your research paper is a
that is 3 – 4 pages. This is the heart of your paper. Here you
describe the literature you have found as well as the course readings on the topic. Save your point of view for the
conclusion – you do not present your opinion here.
What is a literature review? A literature review is not a list describing or summarizing one article after another! Try to
avoid starting every paragraph with the name of a researcher or the title of the article or book.
Instead, organize your
literature review into sections that present themes or causes of inequality.
You are not trying to list all the material
published on a topic, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to your topic.
You have two choices for how to organize your review: (1) organize your review into sections on different
inequality you are studying, or (2) organize your review into sections on different
you’ve found researchers
Synthesize your results into an explanation of what is known and not known about the topic.
discussion of an organization trying to solve this aspect of inequality
consists of a 1-page summary describing an
organization that is working to address this inequality. In this section you should explain what the organization’s mission
is, how many people or families they typically help in a year, what exactly they do, and how successful they’ve been.
4. In the
you will briefly restate your topic of research and highlight the major findings from your literature
review. Then briefly describe the organization you studied and their success at trying to reduce this inequality. Lastly, you
should conclude with a ½ page explanation about what you think should be done by our society to solve this inequality.
Don’t just say “spend more money” because that is too easy. What
should we be doing? Describe concrete steps or
General outline you could use:
I. Introduction (1/2 page – 1 page)
II. Literature review (3 – 4 pages)
III. Discussion of organization (1 page)
IV. Conclusion (1/2 page – 1 page)
Britton, M., & Goldsmith, P. (2013). Keeping People in Their Place? Young-Adult Mobility
and Persistence of Residential Segregation in US Metropolitan Areas. Urban
Studies, 50(14), 2886-2903.
Emily J. Nicklett, & Sarah A. Burgard. (2009). Downward Social Mobility and Major
Depressive Episodes Among Latino and Asian-American Immigrants to the United States. American Journal of Epidemiology, 170(6), 793-801.
Musterd, S., Van Gent, W., Das, M., & Latten, J. (2016). Adaptive behaviour in urban space:
Residential mobility in response to social distance. Urban Studies, 53(2), 227.
Tran, V. (2016). Social Mobility among Second-Generation Latinos. Contexts, 15(2), 28-33.
The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility. Expanding
Knowledge/Advancing Justice, American Bar Foundation, 27 Feb. 2017, futureoflatinos.org/about-2/.