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Social Problems
SOCI 201 - Morrisville State College
Prof. Kurt Reymers


STEP 1: Social Problem Concept Paper Assignment:

CHOOSE A TOPIC: Write a 1-2 page concept paper with the title in the form of a question, a paper which clearly describes a social problem that you want to research. Narrow your topic as specifically as possible and discuss how the problem is related to the experience of NORMLESSNESS (ANOMIE) on the part of the individual (a personal trouble in one's life, a questioning of norms) AND an INSTITUTIONAL DYSFUNCTION on the part of society (a social issue or problem with the social system). The paper should clarify its relevance to you, the main question that is important to you, a thesis statement regarding a solution to the problem, and briefly discuss where you might find sources of information to answer your research question and clarify your thesis argument.

Worth 5% of final course grade
Due Thursday Feb 2

STEP 2: Social Problem Citation Paper Assignment:

First read this page about doing library research. Next, read this page about writing citations.

Now that you have a concept of what social problem you want to write about and have developed a thesis statement, you need to research your topic to see what sociologists and others have to say about it. Using the MSC Library website, create a list of at least FIVE unique resources that you can use as evidence to support the point of view you are arguing in your paper, at least TWO sources must be scholarly sources (see this research help page to identify scholarly sources). For EACH source, put the full APA citation (as it will appear on your References page) for that source at the beginning, type (in quotes) at least one direct quote from that source, and annotate each quote with a description in your own words of the usefulness of that source to your research question/thesis.

Style format for this assignment should be:


Cite 1
Quote 1
Annotation 1

Cite 2
Quote 2
Annotation 2


Worth 5% of final course grade
Due Thursday Feb 23

STEP 3: Social Problem Annotated Outline Assignment:

Create a detailed and annotated outline of your paper that uses the same or a similar title as your concept paper, that utilizes your research and citations discovered in Assignment 2, and that follows a logical argument from beginning to end to tell your reader why you have come to the conclusion (the answer to your title question) to which you have come after doing your research (supporting your thesis, ultimately). If you are not familiar with the structure and purpose of an outline, you must read the information at the link below.

Also, create a References page with all of your existing research sources. If you did it right on Assignment 2, you should copy and paste just the citations (not the quotes or annotations) onto a References page. Be sure to make any necessary corrections to the citations and put them in proper APA style format.

STEP 4: Social Problem Rough Draft Assignment:

Write a rough draft of your paper. This should be AS COMPLETE AS POSSIBLE, and should closely resemble the structure and content of the outline. The final draft should vary as little as possible from the rough draft (but no one, I mean NO ONE, gets it right the first time!). The rough draft should flesh out your argument about why the topic you chose is a social problem, its institutional dysfunctions it leads to, and provide a critical analysis of the problem (click here to teach yourself critical analysis). Remember, critically analytical writing attempts to:

 get under the surface of a particular situation or problem;
 discover the possible reasons behind it;
 break it down into the various facts and questions of which it essentially consists;
 examine the strengths and weaknesses of different ideas about it, and any evidence relating to it.

More information on the rough draft can be found here:


Worth 10% of final course grade
Due Tuesday April 11

STEP 5: Social Problem Final Draft Assignment:

Write a final draft of your paper. This should be a final version that has been proofread mutliple times, free of spelling and grammatical errors, including complete citations, following all proper APA style guidelines, and with a "References" list at the end. You should respond to all Professor's critical marks on the rough draft, or be prepared to explain why you did not respond.

IMPORTANT: IN ADDITION TO TURNING IN A PAPER COPY IN CLASS, YOU MUST TURN IN YOUR PAPER IN PDF FILE FORMAT TO ME BY EMAIL (reymers@morrisville.edu).You MUST ALSO turn in your graded rough draft with the final draft.

Worth 10% of final course grade
Due Thursday April 27

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