How do I frame a sociology research question on the melting pot theory or the American identity?
I need help formulating a research question or narrowing down either one of the two topics above for a roughly 4000 word research paper. Another topic I would be interested in exploring and need help formulating would be affirmative action policies.
Suggestions for any of the 3 topics would be greatly appreciated.
- radishLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
1. Narrow the topic down to a more specific focus.
Each of these three topics is huge so decide, for example, which historical period and which affirmative action policies you will examine.
2. Decide whether you want to make it a descriptive or an analytic approach:
2.1 Descriptive example - an examination of the factors involved in ....
2.2 Analytic: contrasting the functionalist and the conflict perspectives to the social construction of the American Identity in the era of consumerism ...then you'd need to specify the historic dates that you've chosen to represent this era
4 Decide on the key concepts that you will use in your investigation. If you choose the contrasting theory approach you need to specify which key concepts in the two theoretical approaches you will choose to construct your major and your subsidiary research questions.
5. Once you've narrowed down the topic to the focus; decided whether its going to be descriptive or an analysis of a theoretical argument; worked out which key concepts you've chosen; then you have come to the stage of actually creating your research question.
eg Does the Functionalist or the Conflict paradigm provide a more useful framework for understanding the melting pot theory of USA society?
5. Your introductory paragraph should be confined to revealing to your reader these five stages of the construction of your research question.
By specifying the key concepts you'll be drawing on you will be able to include in your introduction some subsidiary res questions (arising from these concepts) which will shape the pattern of your essay. eg the how signficant is the role of advertising in the ideological construction of the American identity OR what are the functional alternatives to religion in the shaping of the American identity? (each of these could be either your key or your subsidary research questions)
nb an essay based on an argument (as in 2.2) gives you a better chance of demonstrating your sociological understanding.
A useful hint. Do not make the exact wording of your research question your first job. Do as much reading as possible once you have worked out roughly the way you want to address the topic. Then start composing your essay and you will find as you read and begin writing that the research question will develop(this is the grounded theory approach to soc research and is based on the idea that the question partly arises as you get the answers)
And definitely make the precise writing of your introduction your very last job.Source(s): this is a useful web site with examples (though on other topics - you can understand how these stage are used to compose your question. http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/sociology.... good luck -you have chosen some good topics. ps Anselm and Strauss are the researchers responsible for 'gronded theory' there are lots of good webstes you can access on them eg http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arp/grounded....
- LaurenLv 44 years ago
You immigrate to to US, live here, learn the language and customs, get citizenship....try to keep your original culture alive within your family - and then in a few years your grandchildren are fully integrated and speak English only. Pretty much how it works. Each culture adds to the overall American culture - each group affects the others, we all become "Americans". American identity is always shifting and influenced/changed by new groups added in. Sometimes the older groups are threatened by this. It has never been a smooth process, people just complain about the new people....same as they ever did. It's all good - we all change and as a whole are stronger and more diverse. It's always been that way. People used to hate the Italians and the Irish because they were different and "not American". That all turned out okay, I think. The funny thing is that the people who mock it the most are the end products of the process.