SOC 317 Final Project Guidelines and Rubric
The final project for this course is the creation of a magazine article.
From policy to culture to economics, the family structure in America and across the globe is consistently in the middle of debate and discourse. Questions are routinely asked around what family means, why the definition keeps changing, and who defines “family.” Sociologists use sociological theories and perspectives to study these questions and inform their future studies, policies, and social strategies. Studying the construct and the data picture of families can also be beneficial to both personal and professional lives, aiding individuals in group and interpersonal relationships.
In this final project, you will write an article for a parenting magazine about a familial trend affecting a population. You will base your article on the analysis of the specific trend and its influences, impacts, and presence in diverse cultures using key sociological perspectives. You will then discuss the value of sociological theories and perspectives in approaching social problems. In concluding the article, you will propose an evidence‐based response for minimizing the potential negative impacts of the trend.
Some examples of familial trends could include:
- Families waiting longer to have children
- Adult children returning or staying home after graduation
- Aging of the family
- The changing family meal experience
- Technology, social media’s influence on parenting
- Growth of cohabiting couples
- Elder abuse
This assessment addresses the following course outcomes:
- SOC‐317‐01: Analyze the reciprocal relationship between familial trends and social institutions for identifying the impact on social dynamics
- SOC‐317‐02: Analyze the changing structure of modern families through the application of sociological perspectives
- SOC‐317‐03: Compare and contrast traditional and nontraditional family structures across diverse cultures
Propose evidence‐based responses for minimizing negative impacts of familial trends
Articulate the value of sociological theories and perspectives in limiting biases and assumptions when analyzing real‐world, familial
The project is divided into four milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules One, Two, Four, and Five. The final magazine article will be submitted in Module Seven.
You have been asked to write an article for a parenting magazine on a familial trend negatively affecting a population. You will first select a familial trend from your own idea or from the provided list as the focus of your article. If you are unsure whether your topic is suitable for this project, consult with your instructor for guidance. You will then conduct research on the trend and provide a sociological analysis, identifying influences and impacts and utilizing theoretical perspectives. To conclude, you will propose an evidence‐based recommendation to address the negative impacts of the trend.
Specifically the following critical elements must be addressed:
- Introduction: You will begin your article by setting the stage for the audience, providing some context around the familial trend.
- Explain the familial trendyou selected and provide an overview of its specific influences on the family dynamics.
- Provide historical contextfor your familial trend. How has this trend progressed historically in the United States? What used to be the norm?
- Comparative Perspectives: In this section you will begin by looking at the familial trend on a global scale. You will then narrow your focus to the UnitedStates, examining the influences on the trend, the impact of the trend on society, and how the trend manifests itself within diverse cultures in the United States.
- Select a countryoutside the United States and describe the norm in this country around your previously selected familial trend.
- Compare the presence of your selected familial trendin the United States to the presence in the other country. Is this specific trend present in the other country? Substantiate your determinations with research.
- If the trend is present, how is the presence similar to or different from how it manifests itself in the United States, and why do you think these similarities and differences exist?
- If the trend is not present in the other country, why do you think it is not?
- Looking at the issue inside the United States, identify the relevant social variables and disparitiesinfluencing this familial trend and explain how they influence this trend.
- Explain how the familial trend negatively impactsmodern families, providing specific examples and substantiating your response with resources.
- Explain the influence of the familial trend on other social institutions, providing specific examples and substantiating your response with resources. For example, specifically how does the trend influence education, employment, or healthcare?
- Compare the presence of this familial trend between cultures in the United States. Substantiate your determinations with research. How does the trend manifest itself similarly or differently in different cultures? Is the trend as present in some cultures as it is in others?
- Sociological Analysis: You will now analyze your chosen familial trend, using the three relevant sociological perspectives: conflict perspective,functionalism perspective, and symbolic interactionism perspective.
- Apply the conflictperspective to explain why the familial trend affects families differently. Apply this perspective specifically to your previous comparisons to explain any differences in how the trend affects cultures. If there were not any differences, use the perspective to explain generally why different families have different experiences.
- Apply the functionalistperspective to explain the benefit of the familial trend on society. How does the familial trend influence the family dynamic and therefore positively influence other social institutions and society as a whole?
- Apply the symbolic interactionistperspective to analyze how families define their meaning and how this definition changes. How does symbolic interactionist theory explain the ways that families define themselves and how this definition evolves?
- Value of Sociology
- Identify personal and societal biasesand assumptions around the familial trend. What are your personal biases and preconceived notions based on your life experiences? What are some societal biases and assumptions that the audience might have around the trend?
- Explain to the audience how using sociological theories and perspectivesto analyze the familial trend can help limit biases and challenge assumptions. Provide a specific example related to your analysis of the trend.
- Explain to the audience the value of sociological theories and perspectives when addressing real‐world familial problems. How can the use of these theories and perspectives help address familial problems faced in personal and professional lives?
- Evidence‐Based Response
- Describe attempted responses that have been successful in addressing negative impact(s) of the specific familial trend and identify some bestpractices based on the successes.
- Based on your research, propose a responseto address negative impact(s) of the familial trend.
- Explain why your proposed response is likely to be successful, substantiating your explanation with research. In other words, explain how the response takes into account your previous research of attempted responses, identified best practices, and influences and impacts of the trend.
Milestone One: Journal – Topic Exploration
In Module One, you will choose a topic for your magazine article and provide some contextual and historical background about your topic. This first milestone will help you practice writing about the context and impact for your familial topic. Specifically, you will discuss the background issues about your familial topic. Explain the familial trend you selected and provide a brief overview of its specific influences on the family dynamics. What impact (economic, conflict, mental health, etc.) does the trend have upon families? Provide historical context for your familial trend. How has this trend progressed historically in the United States? What used to be the norm? Be sure to reflect on pertinent real‐world familial examples. Use the final project’s Introduction (section I) to guide your writing. This milestone is graded with the Milestone One Rubric.
Milestone Two: Research Plan and Comparative Perspectives Outline
In Module Two, you will create a research plan for the topic you chose in Milestone One and an outline for the Comparative Perspectives section (II) of the final project. For this milestone, you will first map out your topic, identify key search terms that you will use to find resources and pertinent information, and sketch
out the potential impacts of the trend you chose. Then you will identify which country you would like to use to compare perspectives and why you chose that country. Sociologists serve to create greater understanding about a topic by locating specific social problems within a particular culture and comparing it against another culture. By being able to draw a contrast to another culture’s treatment of and/or experience with the familial topic, you can help clarify its distinction and relevance. For example, elders in America are treated differently than in families across the globe because aging is more greatly revered in other cultures. Or, consider how in other parts of the world, it is customary for men to marry girls younger than the age of 18. In this milestone, you will begin to identify the global, national, and local dimensions and distinctions of your familial trend. As you reflect on your selected topic, note issues of distinction and relevance, and outline which ones you think would be most important to write about in your final submission. This milestone is graded with the Milestone Two Rubric.
Milestone Three: Blog– Sociological Lenses
In Module Four, you will write a blog post analyzing your chosen scenario using the three relevant sociological perspectives: conflict perspective, functionalism perspective, and symbolic interactionism perspective. Sociologists use paradigms, or sociological theories, to help explain social life. For example, a functionalism theorist might look at the changing meal time experience in purely structural terms. Quite simply, a family may be unable to coordinate its schedule to allow for time together at a common meal because of work, technology, and other commitments. However, a symbolic interactionist may analyze this changing family dynamic by asking how families have come to define food and communication. Or, a conflict theorist might point to disparities and hunger as core reasons families are not eating meals together. This blog post will serve to help you look at your familial topic from the three core sociological perspectives and be useful to you as you compose your magazine article’s section on theory. Use the final project’s Sociological Analysis (section III) to guide your writing. This milestone is graded with the Milestone Three Rubric.
Milestone Four: Blog– Assumptions and Best Practices
In Module Five, you will write another blog post. Share two to three commonly held assumptions about the familial trend you have selected and explain how a sociologist can use data to clarify understandings. Sociologists are able to demystify long‐held and sometimes harmful assumptions about the family by introducing data. For example, in families trapped in poverty, college education is a topic that is difficult to discuss, let alone promote. When parents and grandparents have not had a college education or potentially have never been on a college campus, children in these families do not aspire to this level of educational attainment. The myth in culture could be that families and children living in poverty just do not care about advancing themselves. But, research shows that when families and children are simply exposed to a college campus, the likelihood of a college education increases. Also touch on some best practices and interventions that have been successful in mitigating any negative impacts of the familial trend you have identified. For example, if you are focused on the aging of the family, you may present how companies have adopted caregiver‐friendly practices for their employees. Or, if you are focused on child abuse in families, you may share how nonprofit organizations have promoted their services to families who are at risk of family violence. Use the final project’s Evidence‐ Based Response (section V) and Value of Sociology (section IV) to guide your writing. This milestone is graded with the Milestone Four Rubric.
Final Submission: Magazine Article
In Module Seven, you will submit your completed magazine article. Your instructor will have provided you feedback along the path for milestone submissions. The final project should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final product. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. The final submission is graded using the Final Product Rubric.
|1||Journal – Topic Exploration||One||Graded separately; Milestone One Rubric|
|2||Research Plan and Comparative||Two||Graded separately; Milestone Two Rubric|
|3||Blog – Sociological Lenses||Four||Graded separately; Milestone Three Rubric|
|4||Blog – Assumptions and Best Practices||Five||Graded separately; Milestone Four Rubric|
|Final Submission: Magazine Article||Seven||Graded separately; Final Product Rubric|
Final Product Rubric
Guidelines for Submission: Your magazine article must be 4–6 pages in length (plus a cover page and references) and must be written in APA format. Use double spacing, 12‐point Times New Roman font, and one‐inch margins. Include at least three references cited in APA format.
|Critical Elements||Exemplary (100%)||Proficient (85%)||Needs Improvement (55%)||Not Evident (0%)||Value|
|Introduction:||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Explains the selected familial||Explains the selected familial||Does not explain the selected||4|
|Familial Trend||explanation is especially clear||trend and provides an overview||trend and provides an overview||familial trend and does not|
|and detailed||of its specific influences on the||of its specific influences on the||provide an overview of its|
|family dynamics||family dynamics, but||specific influences on the family|
|explanation has gaps in detail||dynamics|
|Introduction:||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Provides historical context for||Provides historical context for||Does not provide historical||6.13|
|Historical Context||context provides keen insight||the trend||the trend, but context has gaps||context for the trend|
|into the changing structure of||in detail or accuracy|
|Comparative||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Selects a country outside the||Selects a country outside the||Does not select a country||6.13|
|Perspectives:||description provides keen||United States and describes the||United States and describes the||outside the United States and|
|Country Norm||insight into the family structure||norm around the selected||norm around the selected||does not describe the norm|
|in the country||familial trend||familial trend, but description||around the selected familial|
|has gaps in detail or accuracy||trend|
|Comparative||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Compares the presence of the||Compares the presence of the||Does not compare the presence||6.13|
|Perspectives:||comparison demonstrates keen||familial trend in the United||familial trend in the United||of the familial trend in the|
|Familial Trend||insight into the family||States to the presence in the||States to the presence in the||United States to the presence in|
|structures across diverse||selected country||selected country, but response||the selected country|
|cultures||or reasoning is cursory or|
|Comparative||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Identifies the relevant social||Identifies the social variables||Does not identify the social||4.6|
|Perspectives: Social||explanation demonstrates keen||variables and disparities||and disparities influencing the||variables and disparities|
|Variables and||insight into the relationship||influencing the familial trend||familial trend and explains how||influencing the familial trend|
|Disparities||between social variables and||and explains how the variables||they are influential, but|
|disparities and familial trends||are influential||response is cursory or illogical,|
|or variables are irrelevant|
|Comparative||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Explains how the familial trend||Explains how the familial trend||Does not explain how the||4.6|
|Perspectives:||explanation demonstrates keen||negatively impacts modern||negatively impacts modern||familial trend negatively|
|Negative Impacts||insight into the relationship||families, providing specific||families, but does not provide||impacts modern families|
|between familial trends and||examples and substantiating||specific examples or|
|modern families||with resources||substantiate with resources, or|
|explanation has gaps in detail|
|Comparative||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Explains the influence of the||Explains the influence of the||Does not explain the influence||4.6|
|Perspectives: Social||explanation demonstrates keen||familial trend on social||familial trend on social||of the familial trend on social|
|Institutions||insight into the relationship||institutions, providing specific||institutions, but does not||institutions|
|between familial trends and||examples and substantiating||provide specific examples or|
|social institutions||with resources||substantiate with resources, or|
|explanation has gaps in detail|
|Comparative||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Compares the presence of the||Compares the presence of the||Does not compare the presence||6.14|
|Perspectives:||comparison demonstrates keen||familial trend between cultures||familial trend between cultures||of the familial trend between|
|Cultures in the||insight into the family||in the United States,||in the United States, but does||cultures in the United States|
|United States||structures across diverse||substantiating determinations||not substantiate with research,|
|cultures||with research||or response or reasoning is|
|cursory or illogical|
|Sociological||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Applies the conflict perspective||Applies the conflict perspective||Does not apply the conflict||6.13|
|Analysis: Conflict||application of the perspective||to explain why the familial||to explain why the familial||perspective to explain why the|
|demonstrates keen insight into||trend affects families differently||trend affects families||familial trend affects families|
|the use of theoretical||differently, but response is||differently|
|perspectives in analyzing the||cursory or illogical|
|Sociological||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Applies the functionalist||Applies the functionalist||Does not apply the functionalist||4.6|
|Analysis:||application of the perspective||perspective to explain the||perspective to explain the||perspective to explain the|
|Functionalist||demonstrates keen insight into||benefit of the familial trend on||benefit of the familial trend on||benefit of the familial trend on|
|the use of theoretical||society||society, but response is cursory||society|
|perspectives in analyzing the||or illogical|
|relationship between familial|
|trends and social institutions|
|Sociological||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Applies the symbolic||Applies the symbolic||Does not apply the symbolic||6.14|
|Analysis: Symbolic||application of the perspective||interactionist perspective to||interactionist perspective to||interactionist perspective to|
|Interactionist||demonstrates keen insight into||analyze how families define||analyze how families define||analyze how families define|
|the use of theoretical||their meaning and how this||their meaning and how this||their meaning and how this|
|perspectives in analyzing the||definition changes||definition changes, but||definition changes|
|family structure||response is cursory or illogical|
|Value of Sociology:||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Identifies personal and societal||Identifies personal and societal||Does not identify personal and||6.13|
|Biases||identifications demonstrate||biases and assumptions around||biases and assumptions around||societal biases and assumptions|
|keen insight into existing||the familial trend||the familial trend, but||around the familial trend|
|personal and societal biases||identification is illogical|
|Value of Sociology:||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Explains how using sociological||Explains how using sociological||Does not explain how using||6.13|
|Theories and||explanation demonstrates keen||theories and perspectives to||theories and perspectives to||sociological theories and|
|Perspectives||insight into the value of||analyze the familial trend can||analyze the familial trend can||perspectives to analyze the|
|sociological theories and||help limit biases and challenge||help limit biases and challenge||familial trend can help limit|
|perspectives in limiting biases||assumptions, providing a||assumptions, but does not||biases and challenge|
|and assumptions in analyses||specific example related to the||provide a specific example||assumptions|
|previous analysis||related to the previous analysis,|
|or explanation is cursory or|
|Value of Sociology:||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Explains the value of||Explains the value of||Does not explain the value of||6.14|
|Personal and||explanation demonstrates keen||sociological theories and||sociological theories and||sociological theories and|
|Professional Lives||insight into the value of||perspectives when approaching||perspectives when approaching||perspectives when approaching|
|sociological theories and||real‐world familial problems||real‐world familial problems,||real‐world familial problems|
|perspectives when approaching||but explanation is cursory or|
|real‐world familial problems||illogical|
|Evidence‐Based||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Describes attempted responses||Describes attempted responses||Does not describe attempted||6.13|
|Response: Best||description demonstrates keen||that have been successful in||that have been successful in||responses that have been|
|Practices||insight into successful||addressing negative impact(s)||addressing negative impacts of||successful in addressing|
|responses for approaching||of the familial trend, identifying||the familial trend, but does not||negative impacts of the familial|
|negative impacts of familial||best practices based on||identify best practices based on||trend|
|trends||successes||successes, or response is|
|cursory or illogical|
|Evidence‐Based||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Proposes a response to address||Proposes a response to address||Does not propose a response to||6.13|
|Response: Response||response is especially well||a negative impact(s) of the||a negative impact(s) of the||address a negative impact(s) of|
|aligned with previous research||familial trend, based on||familial trend, but response is||the familial trend|
|previous research||not based on previous research,|
|or response is cursory or|
|Evidence‐Based||Meets “Proficient” criteria and||Explains why the response is||Explains why the response is||Does not explain why the||6.14|
|Response:||explanation is especially well||likely to be successful,||likely to be successful, but does||response is likely to be|
|Successful||aligned with previous research||substantiating with research||not substantiate with research||successful|
|and previously identified best||or explanation is cursory or|
|Articulation of||Submission is free of errors||Submission has no major errors||Submission has major errors||Submission has critical errors||4|
|Response||related to citations, grammar,||related to citations, grammar,||related to citations, grammar,||related to citations, grammar,|
|spelling, syntax, and||spelling, syntax, or organization||spelling, syntax, or organization||spelling, syntax, or organization|
|organization and is presented in||that negatively impact||that prevent understanding of|
|a professional and easy‐to‐read||readability and articulation of||ideas|