Sociology Research Paper Writing Help Guide
If you are an undergraduate or graduate student working with a mentor, you may have to write a research paper. Sometimes, your professor may direct your research or you may be required to come up with your own topic. In any case, you will have to pick a topic of interest and address some aspect of it over the course of your paper. Research papers vary greatly in length. Some may be as short as five pages, while others may be as long as thirty pages. Quite often, research papers are published in academic journals, especially if you are a student researcher. If this is your goal, there is a strict structure to a sociology research paper: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, acknowledgements, and references. While there is a strong component of locating literature from similar studies, the focus is more on the actual research itself. Nevertheless, this guide will show you how to format your paper properly.
Most journals prefer a short abstract. In three hundred words or less, sum up your research objectives, methods, results and conclusions. This makes it easy for other scholars to understand your research and potentially cite your work in their papers.
Your Sociology Research Paper Introduction
There is no specified length for the introduction, though most are usually one or two pages long. In the introduction, you begin by introducing your problem in very general terms. Subsequent paragraphs outline previous research completed in the field and then introduce your topic and its relevance to the field.
This section shows how you got your information such as: sample composition, qualitative and quantitative measures, statistical analysis tools, inclusion and exclusion criteria, analytic framework, etc. In other words, you needed to explain your research design.
This is where you report the results of your experiments. You should add graphs, charts and figures to this section to create a concise display of your results in order for your peers to quickly ascertain what you have done and how you arrived at this conclusion. You will also note the margin of error for any statistical analysis.
In this section, you will deconstruct your results, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your study. You may attach a separate conclusion, which explains what implications your research would yield as well as make suggestions for future research in the field.
In this section, you should acknowledge the work of anyone that helped with your paper. Your professor is already listed as one of the authors on your paper, so feel free to thank anyone that edited your paper, let you use their equipment, or collaborated with you for extra credit. If you are married and this project had taken you away from your family, you may also choose to acknowledge your husband/wife.
These will be the last page(s) of your paper. Research papers are typically meant for publication in a journal, which may have their own guidelines for the formatting of the bibliography and in-text citations. Because scholarly databases are often organized by who is cited in the paper, you need to pay more careful attention to the bibliography of a research paper than you would with an essay or term paper. Please consult the formatting guidelines of the particular journal you will be submitting to. Some prefer American Psychological Association (APA) style, others prefer the ‘footnotes and bibliography’ style (i.e. Chicago/Turabian). If this is for your professor’s eyes only, she will most likely ask that you complete the paper in APA as the author-date citation style is generally more favored by social scientists than the author-work style of MLA. To make sure that all in-text references and the bibliography are formatted properly, consult the latest style-guide, which is available at the local library, bookstore, or Amazon.com.
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