Research Paper Instructions & Rubric on issues of race/racism/ethnicity


The purpose of the major research paper is to develop student’s research, analytical and writing skills. The paper will assess student’s ability to apply their research skills to write an analytical paper that expands their sociological knowledge of the study of race and ethnicity. Students will select a topic of interest while conforming to the following criteria:

  1. The focus on the paper must be on issues of race/racism/ethnicity
  2. The paper must be from a Canadian context
  3. The paper must link your argument to at least one theory from the course (e.g. democratic racism, biological racism, cultural racism, critical race theory, anti-racism, hidden/formal curriculum, spatialized justice, “good girl”, etc…)
  4. The paper must be an analytical paper

Papers should be NO MORE than 6 double-spaced pages in length (12pt Times Roman font) (excluding work cited and title pages) and must include a minimum of 5 academic sources (e.g. scholarly books, peer-reviewed articles, government reports and statistics) that are not readings the course. You can use materials from the course but they will not count towards the 5 required academic sources. APA or MLA formatting must be used. Papers will also be graded on organization, spelling, grammar and usage. There will be a deduction of 5% for every page over the required maximum length.


The research paper must be submitted in the drop box by 11:59pm Monday March 21, 2022. Deductions of 5% per day will be applied to late papers. Plagiarism software is applied to all submitted papers- any significant, unreferenced use of another author’s ideas or text will result in and automatic fail or grade of zero on the paper, and potentially more serious penalties depending on the amount of plagiarism.

Research Paper Rubric

  Poorly DevelopedDevelopedWell Developed 
Content and clarity of argument 20%No emphasis on race/ethnicity0Argument not situated in a Canadian context0No thesis0Argument poorly articulated0Key concepts are not defined0Argument not connected to a theoretical model0Largely descriptive- Simply describing a problem. Relies heavily on summarizing research sources0Use of Sources: Relies heavily on one; does not contribute to development of main argument; adds nothing new to class material0Mention of race/ethnicity but unclear1Mention of a Canadian context but argument not fully situated in a Canadian context1Thesis somewhat developed2Argument weakly articulated2Some key concepts are clearly defined1Weak connection between argument and at least one theoretical model from the course2Mostly descriptive but with a small amount of analysis2Use of Sources: Uneven use; weakly contributes to development of main argument; barely adds new information to class material1Clear emphasis on race/ethnicity2Argument fully situated in a Canadian context2Clearly developed thesis3Clearly articulated argument3Key concepts are clearly defined2Strong connection between argument and at least one theory from the course3Analytical paper -considers strengths & weaknesses of existing research in light of paper’s main argument3Use of sources: Even use; strongly contributes to development of main argument; substantially adds new information to class material2
Structure and organization5%No clear thesis statement; no layout of what will be argued and how it will be argued0 Body of paper unorganized and does not allow the reader to follow the main argument0No conclusion0Poorly structured thesis statement that does not clearly lay out what will be argued and how it will be argued1Body of paper poorly organized making it difficult for the reader to clearly follow the main argument1Conclusion does not restate argument or sums up main ideas..5Clearly structured thesis statement that lays out what will be argued and how it will be argued2 Body of paper logically organized and allows the reader to clearly follow the main argument2Conclusion that restates argument and sums up main ideas.1
Referencing, grammar, spelling, style and formatting5%No in-text citations or work cited page0Many grammatical and spelling errors, inappropriate vocabulary, poor sentence and paragraph structure0Few of the following criteria are met: 12 pt Times Roman font, double spaced with regular margins, all pages except title page are numbered0 Missing in-text citations and/or work cited page; incorrect citation format1Some grammatical and spelling errors, inappropriate vocabulary, poor sentence and paragraph structure1Most but not all of the following criteria are met: 12 pt Times Roman font, double spaced with regular margins, all pages, except title page are numbered.5All ideas that are not your own are correctly referenced (APA, MLA) in-text and in a work cited page2Appropriate grammar, vocabulary; correct spelling, clear sentence and paragraph structure2All of the following criteria are met: 12 pt Times Roman font, double spaced with regular margins, all pages except title page are numbered1
Total __/30   
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