Guidelines for Research &Writing Assignment

Guidelines for Research &Writing Assignment – Relevance Box Paper

For The Real World, 4th Edition

Students will complete one six-step Research & Writing Assignment during the semester.  This assignment is worth a total of 150 points and is organized into the following 6-step sequence.  Please check the course schedule for the due dates for each step of each assignment.

Step 1: Review a Relevance Box from the textbook                    (10 points)

Step 2: Research Article Review                                                  (20 points)

Step 3: Proposal for a New & Improved Relevance Box           (10 points)

Step 4: Relevance Box Outline for First Draft                             (10 points)

Step 5: First Draft of Revised Relevance Box                             (50 points)

Step 6: Final Draft of Revised Relevance Box                           (50 points)

 Relevance Box Options

 Throughout your textbook there are a series of “relevance boxes” labeled In Relationships, In the Future, and On the Job that highlight specific issues and concepts of concern to sociologists.  Your task in this Research & Writing assignment is to revise one such box with the purpose of improving the way that the box communicates information based on sociological research to the students reading this introductory textbook.

Because some of the relevance boxes in your text are better suited to this assignment than others please select one from the following list to revise for this writing assignment.

RelevanceBoxes Approved for Research & Writing Assignment

 ON THE JOB: The Wages of Emotion Work(p. 120)

            Research Article = Grandey (2003)

 IN RELATIONSHIPS: Can We Have a  Relationship with God? (p.311)

Research Article = Sharp (2010)

IN RELATIONSHIPS: With Virtual Colleagues (p.330)

Research Article = Poster (2002)


IN RELATIONSHIPS: Fan-Celebrity Relations (pp.392-393)

Research Article = Ferris (2001)


IN THE FUTURE: Solving the Mystery of Autism (p.409)

Research Article = Liu, King and Bearman (2011)


IN RELATIONSHIPS: Encounters with Strangers (p.449)

Research Article = Wood et al. (2007)


IN RELATIONSHIPS: Social Media and #OccupyWallStreet (p.482)

Research Article =Lubin (2012)

 Research & Writing Assignment Steps

Please follow these six steps to complete this assignment according to the course schedule.  Complete the steps in order by the due dates listed on the course schedule and submit the required work to your instructor using the associated dropbox in the course site.Your instructor will evaluate, offer feedback on, and assign a grade for the materials you submit at each step.

 Step 1: Review a Relevance Box from the textbook

Carefully and critically read the existing box you have chosen for your assignment.  Write a one to two-page review of the box addressing the following questions:

What key points are made?

What is the purpose of including this box in your textbook?

What source materials are referred to in the box?

Please look up any books, articles, or web sites cited in the box in thetextbook’s References and list them at the end of your review.

What do you like most and least about the existing contentand format of the box?


Turn in your one to two-page Review to the instructor for evaluation (worth 10 points)


Step 1 Grading Rubric




Below Average

6 or less points per criterion


7-8 points per criterion


9-10 points per criterion

Review Quality Inadequately answers some or all required questions Adequately answers all questions Thoughtfully answers all questions



Step 2: Research Article Review


Having reviewed the existing Relevance Box you will now turn your attention to the sociological research upon which the Box is based.  Your chosen box includes at least one research article published in a social scientific journal. For this assignment you need only review the article listed under your chosen Relevance Box in the Relevance BoxesApproved for Research & Writing Assignmentlist above.


Articles that report on sociological research studies are published in academic journals that have titles like The American Sociological Review, Symbolic Interaction and Personality and Social Psychology Review.  Begin by locating your article in the textbook’s References section and downloading it from the PSU library at or by following the web link included.


Your chosen Box may also cite newspaper or magazine articles, websites, or books but for this step you will review the research article only.


Reviewing a Research Article


For this step you will rely primarily on the material covered in the Lesson on Research Methods so be prepared to review the reading, lecture, and learning activities on that topic.  If you have a question about the research methods used in your journal article please ask your instructor for clarification.


Your job in step 2 is to walk your instructor through the study by addressing the following questions: (1) What was the purpose or goal of this research? (2) How did the author(s) conduct their research? (3) What did the researchers ultimately accomplish?  It should take you approximately 2 to 3 pages to adequately answer these questions.  The purpose of reviewing a sociological research article is to give you a deeper understanding of the study behind the “story” told in your chosen Box.  You will need this in-depth understanding of your article in order to improve the way the Box summarizes information from this research study.


What was the purpose or goal of this research?


To answer the first question, you must recognize what the purpose of the research was. What research question(s) does the study seek to answer?  Are any research hypotheses stated? Is this research basic or applied?  Is the intent of the study to explore, explain, or describe social phenomena?  Is the study designed to test a theory, develop a new theory, or explain relationships between variables?  Are there ethical issues that the researchers had to address?


How did the author(s) do the research? 


To answer this question, you need to identify the research method used.  First you must determine whether the study was quantitative or qualitative.  Second, explain what research method was used: ethnography, interviews, surveys, existing sources, or experiments?  Be sure to provide some details about who or what was studied and how data were collected and analyzed.


What did the researcher(s) ultimately accomplish?


Finally, you should read the article with an eye towards what the author(s) accomplished (or claimed to accomplish) with their research. What are the important results? What does this study contribute to our understanding of the social phenomena being studied?  What are the limitations of the study? What are the next steps in this research agenda?

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