Social Research Paper

Paper Objective: To hypothesize about how people think on some real world issue, as prompted to or inspired by it from the course topic of science, religion, and magic, and then to find an answer that will either confirm or refute that hypothesis.

To successfully complete this assignment you must first accomplish read Field Guide, Part 4: 28-33 and 38 and then determine a research question appropriate for social research. You are looking to answer a question or assumption that you have about something that you think other people think or believe about science, religion, and magic, or some issue related to those topics.  You will use surveys as your primary research tool to support your research question, although you might also use other research as slight secondary or tertiary support.   

Your paper will be evaluated upon your research methods--whether your survey questions logically address the hypothesis, whether you have accounted for bias without directly exposing your hypothesis, whether you have surveyed credible people who have some  experience with the subject of your question, etc., as well as on how well you adapt your writing to a different audience and style. Whether your initial hypothesis is found to be correct or not does not matter. What matters is how you arrive at your conclusion.

For this paper, you want to limit your focus to a topic narrow enough to be addressed in three to four pages, which will likely result in a paper of at least six pages by the time you are through with it.  You may quote from a poem, essay, novel, or film to get into the issue and to explain why the issue is important, but, again, the important support to address the hypothesis must be obtained through field research.  This field research will be conducted and attained through use of, using the free portion of their site. I will expect you to form a question that pertains to community college students in some way, and I will distribute these surveys to all of my students this semester.

You will reveal your hypothesis and its conclusion in your introduction. The next section of your paper should detail your research methods. Then you should explain your research findings, and finally detail those results to come to your conclusion. At the end of your paper, just prior to your bibliography, you will include an appendix of survey questions and/or interview questions (if you had any). You will not turn in the actual survey and interview results or responses, although you may certainly quote from them to illustrate opinions in your paper. You should save those materials so that if any questions arise, you can show your data to address them.  After you've  compiled you paper, make sure you proofread.

Likewise, you may still have your essay read by a reader in the Writing Center on campus, but if you do so, as always, make sure you bring in a copy of this assignment sheet with your draft and remember that the lab requires a 48 hour turn around time, so plan ahead.  As always, having your paper at the lab is not a valid excuse for attempting to turn it in late.  

The main difficulties you may have in this paper will be in narrowing your focus enough and in generating a non-biased survey instrument to collect data. 

Format: This essay should be double-spaced, carefully edited and proofread, before you turn it in. As far as style, you should follow APA for this paper, which is the style used by the American Psychological Association. This paper should be at least three to four pages in length with one-inch margins, not including the bibliography page. 

Check your syllabus for the paper's due date, remembering that it will be due in advance of that date for Peer Review.

Potential Paper Topics

People who feel strongly religious may be more skeptical about vaccinations than those who do not feel very religious.

Younger people are generally more comfortable with fantasy fiction that uses witchcraft as a literary device than are older people.

Most people can separate their religious beliefs from fiction more readily than they can separate them from their scientific beliefs.



Merlin image from Rick Perez's Etsy site