RESEARCH PAPER AND PROPOSAL GUIDELINES
You are required to write a research paper on a topic relevant to the course, covering some topic relevant
to the sociology of race, class & gender, either at the local, regional, national, or global levels of analysis.
The paper should be written individually and should be based on academic research references, which may be
supplemented with other data from the news media, policy reports, interviews/observations, and/or
community organization documents. The general goals of the assignment are to provide you with the
opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge on a topic that suits your interests relevant to the course. It is, in
essence, your opportunity to become an “expert” on a particular question or issue that you find interesting
and/or intriguing. There are two options that will satisfy this requirement.
The first option is to write a paper that examines a relevant topic to race, gender, and/or class in the
The United States.
The second option is to write a comparative paper which examines some aspect of the race, gender, and/or
class globally or in another society.
The decision of which research paper option to choose is yours. Regardless of the option, you choose,
however, each paper will be the same length in the text (excluding bibliographies or attachments). Also, both
options will be graded equally. The final paper must have a cover page with your name and the title of the
paper on it. Moreover, the paper should be typed, double space, with one-inch margins, proof-read, and free
In order to help you organize your ideas for the research paper, each student in the class is required to
prepare a 2-page research proposal/bibliography. Please use my office hours or contact me via email if you
would like to discuss your ideas before turning in your paper proposal. Your paper proposal should take the
form of two-to-three paragraph description of the topic you want to research. It is best to try to write out at
least two ideas, even if they are on related subjects. Do not worry about refining the subject or having a
subject that is too unusual; I will provide you feedback and assist you in developing your paper topic.
Your research proposal should explain the following:
1) The reasons for selecting your topic and the analytical question you hope to answer in your paper.
2) Why you (and the writer) care about this question—what will it help us to understand? What are its
broader meanings and implications?
3) How do you intend to answer your question? In other words, what lines of reasoning will you pursue? How
will you break down your “big” question into smaller ones? (These smaller questions may help you organize
your paper into sections). Identify the types of evidence you will need to research and analyze your questions.
In addition to the description and question, your proposal should include a preliminary 1-page
bibliography of primary and/or secondary sources you will use in your research. Primary sources are those
written by a group or person involved in what you are studying. This can also include field observations,
pictures, letters, interviews, and the commentary of others, especially in the form of newspaper and
television accounts. Secondary sources are scholarly research on your subject. Scholarly work is written by
someone who holds an academic position or who uses a sustained, data-based, systematic form of inquiry to
draw conclusions about a case or cases. Be sure to check social science and sociology databases at the
CSULB Library for sources. Web sites may only be used as primary sources or whenever other sources of
information are not available. I suspect that most papers will include a combination of primary and