Social Issue


    Soc 360 Social Problems
    Final Paper

    In this assignment, you are to choose a social problem that you believe is very important.  Not only must you choose a particular problem, but you must also speak to possible solutions for the problem using a sociological lens.

    The purpose of the paper is to integrate learning across students experiences, their unique areas of interest, and their community engagement and research. The paper will help students apply what they are learning and critically think about how to better understand and solve social problems.

    As we have discussed, social problems can be tackled from multiple levels the individual, groups or organizations (think about Sam Polks Groceryships) or society (new legislation/laws/government funding, etc.) For this assignment, you should do the following:

    1.    Overview of the Social Problem.  Choose a topic/problem and then focus on one specific area that you would like to address. For example, if you choose poverty, you may want to focus on child poverty among school-aged children. Give an overview of the problem. In your analysis, tell why the problem is a social problem: What makes this an issue? What are the underlying mechanisms at play? How does the problem affect peoples lives? How does the problem affect our society as a whole? You should give at least four scholarly sources about the problem, at least three of which must be outside of class readings.

    2.    Individual Action. Next, consider an individual action that could produce a positive impact on the problem.
    a.    Complete the individual action (Your action MAY NOT be against school rules, be unsafe during the Covid pandemic, or be against the city, state, or federal law).  For example, say you have chosen some specific type of environmental harm such as the buildup of landfills. Pre-Covid, you could choose to take a reusable bag to the store instead of using a plastic bag.  During Covid, most stores require that you NOT bring in our own bag, so what could you do? You could attend a webinar or organization zoom session about this topic and learn more about it. (NOTE: Your attendance at a community organization zoom session could be counted toward your community participation requirement.)
    b.    Describe what you did and explain how your action could produce change as it relates to the social problem chosen. 
    3.    Group/ Organization Action. Next, research one organization/group that does something about the problem.  Be sure to answer the following questions:  What is the name of the group? What kind of group/organization is this?  Is it a government group or a private non-profit group? What is the groups mission?  How is the group funded?  What resources does the group use?  What kinds of Activities does the group have?  How is the group trying to tackle the problem?  Are they recruiting volunteers (working to cause individual action), lobbying for legislation (for better policies), trying to start a social movement or some combination of these? What are some successes that the group has had, and what are some challenges that they face?  In your research, you can visit the groups website, interview organization leaders, and locate scholarly or other reputable articles about the group.

    4.    Societal Action/Policy Analysis. Next, focus on society/social structure, specifically policy analysis. This will require reading scholarly articles about the issue. You should use at least four scholarly sources in this section, at least three of which must be outside of class readings. (NOTE: These may be the same sources you used in the Overview (See 1 above.)

    In this section:
    Describe in detail what you believe are the most relevant current state/federal policies affecting this issue.
    Based on your research, critically evaluate whether or not you think these policies are adequate or if they should be altered in some way.
    Make policy recommendations and then speak to the strengths and weaknesses of your recommendations. Some things to consider: How could success be realized? Are there certain aspects of society/culture that would impede change? Would policy changes have other effects that would need to be examined?

    5.    Sociology and the Public Good.
    For the final section of the paper, discuss how having a sociological understanding of social problems can benefit the public good. Why is having such an understanding important in solving the type of social problem you addressed? How can a policy that is based on sociological analysis benefit society?
    Do you believe that your contribution to society in the form of your own civic engagement is important? If so, why? What types of actions can you take to alleviate the social problems you care about?

    Craft a logical paper of approximately 8 pages that addresses the requirements above.  Please use subsections in the paper which correspond to the topics in 1 through 5 above.
    Please use ASA or APA formatting. Use 12-point font, Times New Roman. As noted above, your sources must be scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles or books. You will no doubt have other sources such as websites, agency or government data, and the like, but keep in mind these do not qualify as scholarly sources.
    In addition, grammar, sentence structure, relevance, depth, coherence, and style will be considered in your grade. Be sure to take advantage of the student writing services on campus.
    Good luck! I am happy to answer any questions you may have!

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