The kind of paper you are writing is a “literature review,” which means that you are not analyzing and providing results from new data or a new empirical research, but instead, you will be gathering information from articles, books and papers that are already published, and based on that you will answer your “research question”.
The length of your final paper should be 10-15 pages, double space, with regular formatting settings (Times New Roman, 12 pts, regular margins). Citations should be in ASA or Chicago format. This applies to both your in-text references (short format) and the bibliography at the end (complete format). If you have doubts about this, you can read this short style guide or this one, or you can consult with the writing center. If you still have doubts, feel free to send me a sample paragraph and I can let you know if you’re citing correctly.
One clarification: to cite or to reference a paper does not mean you should quote an entire sentence or paragraph. Actually, I discourage you from using quotes, unless you think the way the author/s are expressing an idea is unique, and so the formulation has value in itself. In all other circumstances (99 percent of the cases) you need to paraphrase, explain the content of what you read, or the part the you find germane to your argument in your own words. It makes the paper more readable and your argument more solid. For examples, you can actually pay attention to any academic journal you read for this research.
You need 3 academic sources. This means that at least 3 of the citations in the bibliography at the end have to be from either an article in an academic journal (like American Journal of Sociology, or Sociological Theory) or a book, and the rest from newspaper or magazine articles. You should have at least 6-8 references.
The structure of the paper should be as follows:
1. Abstract: It should be less than 300 words, and it should provide a summary of the whole paper, including the theoretical framework and the main results.
2. Introduction: Explain the background of your research, describe the research question for your paper and the importance of that topic and question, implications, etc.
3. Theoretical framework: Here is where you can use some of the literature we used in class, for example, if you want to talk about gender oppression, or about theories of welfare, or working-class mobilization, you can tap into different texts we’ve seen in class.
4. Results of the literature review: here is where you explain the results of the review you performed. You explain how different authors address the question, what they argue, what empirical evidence they provide to support their case, etc.