Guidelines for Research &Writing Assignment

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 aRelevance Boxfrom 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 Jobthat 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) http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5rb320n3

 

 

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

 

Evaluation

Criterion

Below Average

6 or less points per criterion

Satisfactory

7-8 points per criterion

Excellent

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 http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/home.html 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?

 

 

Turn in your two to three-page Research Article Review to the instructor for evaluation (worth 20 points)

 

Step 2 Grading Rubric

 

Evaluation

Criterion

Below Average

6 or less points per criterion

Satisfactory

7-8 points per criterion

Excellent

9-10 points per criterion

3 questions about the Article Inadequately answers some or all required questions Adequately answers all questions Comprehensively answers all questions
Explanation of Research Methods Unclear, incorrect or incomplete discussion of research methods Research methods clearly discussed Research methods clearly explained and critiqued

 

 

Step 3: Proposal for a New & Improved Relevance Box

 

Now that you are familiar with the content of your Box and the research it is based on you are ready to give some thought to how it can be revised and improved. Based on the review you wrote up for Step 1 how do you think this box could be revised to get its points across in a more effective way to an introductory sociology student?  What shortcomings have you identified in the existing box and what ideas do you have for addressing them?  Perhaps organization and clarity could be improved?  Maybe the examples or summary of the source materials could be more current, relevant, interesting, or easy to understand?  Could it be that the current box needs to go into more depth or offer more breadth?  Are there sociological concepts and ideas that might be usefully added or taken out of the box?  Is the research reported up to date, interesting, relevant? Taking such questions into account write a one to two-page proposal for how you would make the box a better learning resource for students reading your textbook.

 

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

 

Step 3 Grading Rubric

 

 

Evaluation

Criterion

Below Average

6 or less points per criterion

Satisfactory

7-8 points per criterion

Excellent

9-10 points per criterion

Proposal Quality Inadequate foundation for revising textbook Box Useful foundation for revising the textbook Box Blueprint for effectively revising the textbook Box

 

 

Step 4: Outline for theFirst Draft of your Revised Relevance Box

 

Your ultimate goal in this assignment is to revise the existing Relevance Box to improve upon the original.  Each of the previous three steps has brought you closer to that objective and in this step you will put these pieces together in outline form to create a useful, interesting, and sociologically relevant narrative for prospective readers of your revised Relevance Box. This process is in fact somewhat like fitting together puzzle pieces because you’ll have to try different pieces in different spaces until you come up with a combination of parts that “works” to complete the whole. Fortunately, you are not working in the dark since you do have an existing Relevance Box to refer to and your in-depth knowledge ofyour research article to help you build your new and improved Relevance Box.

 

You will write two drafts of your revised Relevance Box paper. The outline you create in this step will guide you as your write your first draft (Step 5).  Your final draft (Step 6) will be based on instructor feedback on your first draft.

 

Your written outline should provide a paragraph-by-paragraph overview of the revised Relevance Box you plan to submit as your First Draft for Step 5.  While you may indicate the content of each paragraph in any way that makes it clear to your instructor what you plan to include there and why, please also provide a one-sentence summary that explains what you plan to cover in each paragraph. Remember, your finished Box should be approximately 2,000 to 2,500 words in length so plan your outline accordingly.

 

 

Turn in your Outline to the instructor for evaluation (worth 10 points)

 

Step 4 Grading Rubric

 

 

Evaluation

Criterion

Below Average

6 or less points per criterion

Satisfactory

7-8 points per criterion

Excellent

9-10 points per criterion

Outline Quality Inadequate basis for revising textbook Box Useful basis for revising the textbook Box Blueprint for effectively revising the textbook Box

 

 

Step 5: First Draft of Revised Relevance Box

 

If you have completed steps 1 to 4 as required then step 5 involves writing a first draft of your new and improved Relevance Box using the paragraph-by-paragraph outline you completed in Step 4. Your first draft shouldbe approximately 2,000 to 2,500 words in length.

 

Your first draft should NOT BE A ROUGH DRAFT but a polished product of careful editing and revision.  This means that your first draft should be your best effort at a “finished” paper rather than an incomplete “work in progress.”  Please do not submit a first draft that has missing material, incomplete text, notes to yourself or other indicators of an “unfinished” paper.  The rubric below specifies the five evaluation criteria for your first draft.

 

 

Turn in your FIRST DRAFT of the Revised Relevance Box to the instructor for evaluation (worth 50 points)

 

Step 5 Grading Rubric

 

Evaluation

Criterion

Needs Major Revision

6 or less points per criterion

Needs Moderate Revision

7-8 points per criterion

Needs Minor Revision

 

9-10 points per criterion

Writing Lacks clarity

Ineffectively written

Noticeable grammatical errors or typos

Mostly Clear

Functionally Written

minimal grammatical errors or typos

Clear

Well written

No obvious grammatical errors or typos

Organization

 

Poorly organized

Narrative difficult to follow

 

Logically organized

Narrative easy to follow

 

Effectively organized

Narrative draws reader in

 

Use of Research Article Fails to highlight relevant content or themes from research article Highlights relevant content or themes from research article Integrates relevant content or themes from research article
Box as Learning Resource Reader learns little about topic from reading the Box Reader gains useful information about topic from reading the Box Reader understanding of the topic is significantly enhanced by reading the Box
Box Improvement Revised Box does not improve upon the textbook’s Box Revised Box does improve somewhat on the textbook’s Box Revised Box improves significantly on the textbook’s Box

 

 

Step 6: Final Draft of Revised Relevance Box

 

The final step in this writing assignment is to use the instructor feedbackyou got on your first draft to make changes that will improve the paper.Although a stronger first draft will require less extensive revision than a weaker one, all authors must demonstrate that they have made changes in response to the instructor feedback they received on their first draft.

 

Turn in your FINAL DRAFT of the Revised Relevance Box to the instructor for evaluation (worth 50 points)

 

Step 6 Grading Rubric

 

 

Evaluation

Criterion

Below Average

6 or less points per criterion

Satisfactory

7-8 points per criterion

Excellent

9-10 points per criterion

Writing Lacks clarity

Ineffectively written

Noticeable grammatical errors or typos

Mostly Clear

Functionally Written

minimal grammatical errors or typos

Clear

Well written

No obvious grammatical errors or typos

Organization

 

Poorly organized

Narrative difficult to follow

 

Logically organized

Narrative easy to follow

 

Effectively organized

Narrative draws reader in

 

Use of Research Article Fails to highlight relevant content or themes from research article Highlights relevant content or themes from research article Integrates relevant content or themes from research article
Box as Learning Resource Reader learns little about topic from reading the Box Reader gains useful information about topic from reading the Box Reader understanding of the topic is significantly enhanced by reading the Box
Box Improvement Revised Box does not improve upon the textbook’s Box Revised Box does improve somewhat on the textbook’s Box Revised Box improves significantly on the textbook’s Box

 

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