Understanding Social Problems Crime and Criminal Justice

Option 1: Term Paper The Term Paper option asks you to identify a topic, ask questions related to it, review others’ answers, and conclude with a response of your own.(11) Term Papers should include the following 5 sections: 1. Topic: Start by identifying, and clearly defining a topic. The best topics will involve a local and contemporary phenomenon, issue, or event that is readily observable in our everyday lives. This might be due to prominent coverage in “the news”, entertainment and social media, or because it is a phenomenon readily experienced first-hand, or both.(12) Be sure to discuss why the topic is important; to whom (if anyone) it is a problem? and who (if anyone) benefits from it? 2. Questions: Then, ask several interrelated questions that feature your topic. The best questions … A. are “essential” questions(13) B. are concisely articulated and clearly distinguished (feel free to bullet/number) C. lend themselves to a sociological analysis. D. are answerable given your resources and the allotted time and length limits. 3. Literature Review: Next, read up on what others have to say about your topic and question, and summarize it. What answers to your question(s) do sociologists and other social scientific scholars offer? What answers can you tease out of relevant datasets, and glean from research reports? What sociological concepts and theories are used to conceptualize, operationalize, and measure your topic? More specifically, your literature review should include … A. at least 3 substantive references to course required Readings. B. references to 3 to 5 scholarly sources(14) from beyond the course required Readings. 4. Conclusion: Finally, what is your conclusion? What is your answer to the question(s) posed? You should base your conclusion on what you have read, the data you have analyzed, and the concepts and theories you believe provide “the best” answer. The best conclusions will be … A. sociological in its logic (i.e. not individualistic, or biological) B. supported with evidence from verifiable, reliable, and scholarly sources.(15) C. applied to your everyday experience and inform decisions regarding how you think of and interact with others, as well as future academic and professional choices. 5. Additionally, your term paper should include a system of references to sources of information that includes both inline citations, as well as, a list of cited sources (aka a “bibliography”). Given that this is a sociology course, the ASA citation format is most appropriate. But if you prefer to use another well-established format like APA or MLA, that is permitted. Include hyperlinks to all sources.

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