Final Report (20%)

Your final paper contains the following sections:
  • Introduction (based on Step #1)
  • Final Literature Review (based on Step #2)
  • Methodology (based on Steps #3 and #4)
  • Findings (based on Steps #3 and #4)
  • Discussion & Summary
  • Final Bibliography (based on Step #2)



Essentially, your final research paper describes how you conducted your research AND what you’ve learned about your research topic.   The final paper should be about 5-7 pages, typed.  It should be formatted in the following way:

  • double-spaced,
  • 12 pt. font (NO SMALLER, NO LARGER (except for the title)!!!),
  • 1” margins,
  • unjustified paragraphs (your paragraphs shouldn’t be blocks),
  • the first line of each paragraph should be indented,
  • be detailed, but succinct (you are NOT being graded by the word), and
  • it must be free of spelling and grammatical errors!

The basic sections of a research paper are:

I.       Introduction (aka Purpose and Overview)

II.    Literature Review

III. Methodology (Study Design and Execution)

IV.  Findings & Discussion (aka Analysis & Interpretation)

V.     Conclusion (Summary)

VI.  Bibliography (or References Cited)


I.       Introduction

·         state your research question; be sure it includes key concepts

·         indicate why this topic is important for other people to know about

·         if the topic involves a controversial issue, give some documented background information

II.    Literature Review

·         This section is based on your annotation assignment; the purpose of this section is to give readers background information about your topic.

·         Discuss what has already been written about your topic

·         How does your research fit into the field?  Why is your research important?  Does it enlarge the field in some way or does it correct some problems?  Is there nothing in the field that directly addresses your research question?

·         Based on the literature, do you have hypotheses, expectations, or opinions about what you would find in this research?

·         Remember that you must be careful to avoid plagiarism!!!  Here are some examples of paraphrasing without plagiarizing:

                   Example #1:

The role of class in understanding race issues received much attention during the seventies when Wilson (1978) argued that the impact of race on minority class stratification had declined, while class had assumed more saliency in determining the life chances of blacks … This argument was supported by Farley and Bianchi’s (1985) findings, which revealed an increasing polarization among blacks on several key social and economic indicators …  

Example #2:

Barr et. al., (1993), for example, found that black middle class attitudes and behaviors approximated their white counterparts.  While, the study conducted by Shinew et. al. (2000) found no differences in the leisure activities of black men of different income and educational levels, the study did find significant differences in the leisure preferences of black women at the higher income and education levels as compared to those at the lower levels.  Thomas and Sparrow’s study on race and class consciousness among lower and middle class blacks found that “increased social mobility and social differentiation within the Black population had resulted in differential perceptions of the meaning of social class” (1997: 339); and Lareau and Horvat’s (1999) case study found that social class played a mediating role in the manner in which African American parents interacted with schools …

Example #3:

While she did not control for socioeconomic status, Perna’s (2000) investigation of the relative impact of cultural and social capital in an econometric model of college decision-making processes showed that for African Americans, social and cultural capital was as important as academic ability in influencing four-year college enrollment decisions.  Further, Perna’s study found that college enrollment rates were higher for African American students who attended high schools in which more African American students were enrolled than the converse … 

III. Methodology

·         This section is like a guide to your readers about how you conducted your research; I should be able to read this section and replicate your study.

·         Specifically, you should discuss your choice of method, your survey, how your class recruited respondents, the limitations of your research design, etc.

·         Describe how you conducted your research for this paper; what research method did you use?  Why? 

IV.  Findings & Discussion

·         Report the results of your survey and the importance of these findings.  It’s not enough to say that you found some kind of statistical difference, why is that important and what implications does it have and how is it related to your theory and research questions?

·         Make explicit connections between your research material and concepts, theories, or other material from this course; it would be good to use your textbook as a source here

·         You may also wish to offer your own opinions, evaluations, and/or predictions on this issue[1]

·         Though not required, it may be useful to include tables, charts, or illustrations to better describe the findings 

V.     Conclusion

·         This section differs from the Findings & Discussion section by giving you a chance to quickly summarize your project findings and importance 

·         In what ways were you surprised by your findings, or did they confirm what you expected?

·         Indicate what unanswered questions still remain on this topic which could be researched in the future

·         If you can, revisit your question and provide a one-sentence answer or suggestion 

VII.           Bibliography

·         This section should already be completed

·         Double check that EVERY reference is correctly formatted!


Your grade for this assignment will be based on a combination of the final paper grade and your individual participation and contributions to the final paper.  Again, if you make no changes at all to the survey, your individual grade will reflect this![2]



Generally, good college writing addresses the following:

  1. Assignment
    • Does your paper fully and completely address the assignment?
    • Does that paper have all required sections?
    • Is each section complete—descriptive yet succinct?
    • Are there instances of plagiarism?
  2. Organization
    • Is your paper is well-organized?
  3. Analysis / Logic
    • Does your paper make logical sense?
  4. Formatting / Reference
    • Is the paper formatted correctly including references?
  5. Audience
    • Does your paper demonstrate an awareness of the audience?
  6. Grammar/Syntax
    • Are there errors in grammar, syntax, or spelling?
    • Is the overall writing fluid and easily readable?

Also review the Rubric for College-Level Writing below to find a more detailed review of these criteria.


[1] Once again, be careful not to spend more than a few sentences or so on this part.

[2] If you’ve elected to turn in an individual paper, I will grade it accordingly.  Your grade for this assignment will not be based on a collaborative component.

K. Pok,
May 3, 2011, 1:38 PM