FINAL Comprehensive Comparative Paper
For your Final Exam, you will write a comprehensive comparative paper covering two books. The first book will be the book you have already read for the Midterm Book Review. The House on Mango Street. Cisneros, S. (1991). The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage
The second book will be an ethnography chosen from the list associated with the first book you chose.
This paper is “comprehensive”, meaning it should cover and discuss the topics covered in this class in-depth. It is cumulative: theory and readings from the beginning of class are just as important as the last ones. This is your opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned and what you know.
The writing should be academic: written in active voice, should not include first person observations, and should be free of opinion. It should discuss theories, studies and the books you have read factually. You should compare the books’ theses, as well as contrast points made.
Your paper must include:
1. A title page 2. A header/footer with your last name and page number 3. Citations to the textbook and the articles in the class annotated bibliography (and if needed, any other academic supporting material you choose to use, but it must be academic and peer reviewed literature). NO INTERNET SOURCES ARE PERMITTED. You must use 10 sources minimum. 4. A comprehensive examination of the topics the books cover that you’ve learned in class (i.e., race, social class, etc.). You must not simply summarize the events/arguments in the books! 5. References to classical and contemporary sociological theory on inequality (Chapters 9 and 10) 6. A Bibliography/Works Cited/Reference page 7. 12 point font with 1” margins, double spaced 8. 2000 words minimum, not including title page, headers/footers, or bibliography 9. ASA or APA styles only. 10. An introduction with a clearly identified thesis, supporting arguments in the body, and a conclusion summarizing the thesis and answer to the thesis.
This is an upper division course. Your writing should be academic and reflect mastery of the English language, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage. You will be graded on this.
Please see the Spreadsheet under the “Final” section of Content in CourseDen to determine which list of ethnographies applies to you. Which books you can choose is determined by which book you chose to review for your Midterm Book Review.
Ethnographies for Final:
Choose one of these Ethnographies
The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee
Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School by Shamus Rahman Khan
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
• Final Comprehensive Paper Rubric
The instructions and the Dropbox for the Final Comprehensive Paper have been open all semester, as most of you know. I have been getting some questions recently about the paper and I want to clarify some issues:
The instruction sheet is long and detailed (as is this post), so this should give you a great idea of what you are required to do.
The grading rubric (attached in the Dropbox, but attached below also for your convenience), shows you how you are graded and where the points can be earned for the assignment. Ignoring these tools can be detrimental to your grade. Understanding them is the key to your success.
This paper must be 2000 words. Believe me, you need this in order to explain the topics accurately. This may actually seem short once you get started and try to include all of the topics addressed in these books (remember, these are books written on inequality—BOOKS!). This is your chance to shine: Show me what you know! Demonstrate to me how much you have learned over the course of the semester!
In fact, I will remove the requirement that you have a clear thesis. Just tell me what you have learned: compare/contrast the books to one another. Compare/contrast the books to the textbook. Compare/contrast the information in the books to the articles in class. If you do these three things, you will do this part correctly!
You are required to have a minimum of 10 sources. One is the book you read for the midterm. One is the ethnography you chose for the final. That leaves 8. One must also be the textbook for this class (at least using the two theory chapters, minimum). That leaves 7 sources. You must use the articles brought to discussion in this paper. How many you use is up to you.
You must apply course terminology, and this can either come from the textbook for this course (already listed above as 1 source), or the lectures supplied to you in the modules (Module 7 is the only one without a lecture; this was done purposefully to allow you to extrapolate meanings for the quiz).
If you only use the modules and you do not use the articles as sources, note that you will receive a significant points reduction on the final—more so than you did on the midterm.
Let’s break down a few hypothetical papers in points so you can see the grading rubric in action:
PAPER 1: 1500 words, cites modules and terms but does not cite the articles. Spelling and punctuation is ok, and this student mostly followed the directions. Student does compare/contrast the books/textbook, but does it shallowly because the length is not met and the articles are not used as required. The paper is in ASA style.
1500 words/2000 words = 75 as the maximum grade (length is deducted before anything else).
Articles not cited: 30% of 75= -22.5 pts
Grade for this paper: 52.5 (F).
PAPER 2: 2000 words, doesn’t cite articles. Spelling and punctuation is ok, and the student mostly follows directions. Student compares/contrasts, explains theory and terms, but doesn’t use the articles at all. The paper is in APA style.
2000/2000 words = 100% as the maximum grade.
Articles not cited: 30% of 100 = -30 pts.
Grade for this paper: 70.
1500 words, has the right amount of sources, cites the articles/theory/books, spelling/punctuation is ok, and the paper is in ASA style. Works all appear mostly summarized and disjointed.
1500/2000 = 75% as the maximum grade.
Grade for this paper: 75.
PAPER 4: 2000 words. Directions mostly followed, articles are used, but there are major citation errors (no in-text citations), and the spelling/grammar is poor due to no proofreading. The paper is roughly in ASA style, but there are no in-text citations to demonstrate this. Theory is applied.
2000/2000 = 100% maximum grade.
(30 x .5) = -15pts for no in-text citations.
(20 x .5) = -10 pts for spelling, grammar, and proofreading errors
Grade for this paper: 75.
PAPER 5: 2000 words. Directions mostly followed, but student correctly uses Chicago Turabian style of citation. Spelling and punctuation is good, and the articles are used. Theory application is negligible, (meaning, it was mentioned but not demonstrated or understood—and could have been inaccurately applied).
2000/2000 = 100% of points available.
(20 x .25) = -5 pts for not following ASA or APA style; however correct usage of Chicago Turabian is taken into consideration.
(30 x .25) = -7.5 pts for shallow theory applications.
Grade for this paper: 87.5.
Here is what papers look like, by grades:
A: Understood the point of the assignment and the class activities related to this assignment. Demonstrates mastery of terminology, concepts and theory on Social Inequality. Demonstrated commitment to the class through correct usage of course materials in the paper. Has written a paper that is well thought out, the directions are followed, and the paper is proofread. Is able to apply concepts broadly in other areas of study.
B: Understood the point of the assignment and the class activities related to this assignment. Demonstrates mastery of some areas, but shows significant weaknesses in in others. Uses course materials effectively in areas of strength. May show slight inability/lack of interest in following directions (which can also be the result of being rushed to complete the assignment due to poor time management). Is able to apply concepts broadly in other areas of study.
C: Mostly understood the point of the assignment and the class activities related to this assignment. Demonstrates significant weaknesses in some area of study, including terminology, concepts, and theory, but has some strengths. Shows lack in ability/interest in following directions. Demonstrates that some course materials were used in study, but that many were not correctly utilized. Is able to apply concepts broadly in other areas of study.
D: It is not clear whether the student understood the point of the assignment and the class activities related to this assignment. Demonstrates notable weaknesses in most areas of study (terminology, concepts, and theory). Shows lack in ability/interest in following directions. Demonstrates that some course materials were used in study, but that many were not correctly utilized or accessed. Is unable to apply concepts broadly in other areas of study.
F: Missed the point of the assignment and class activities related to this assignment; Demonstrates severe weaknesses in all areas of study (terminology, concepts, and theory) through inability to articulate these in writing. Does not follow directions for the assignment, does not do the assignment, or demonstrates a severe lack interest in and commitment to the material and course through poor workmanship. Does not use course materials, or uses them in an inaccurate way. Is unable to apply concepts broadly in other areas of study.
I have now written nearly 1200 words here just to explain what I am looking for in the assignment to you all. When you think about this, 2000 words should seem very doable. Please pay attention to what is said here, and decide which student you are going to be. Then show me what you’ve got!
Social Inequality by Charles E. Hurst, ISBN 978-0205064779.