SO 302 The Study of the Family
FA 2008 HO
Dr. John W. Noren
Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., Michigan State UniversityMSW, University of Michigan - Ann ArborBA, Graceland University
Parkville Campus, Library 416G
M 9:00 – 9:30 am, T 11:00 am - 12:30 pm, Th 11:00 am - 12:30 pm, F 9:00 - 9:30 am
August 18 – December 12, 2008
10:00 - 10:50 AM
Textbook: Skolnink, A. S. & Skolnick, J. H. (2007). Family in Transition, 14th ed. NY: Allyn & Bacon. (paper)
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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Educational Philosophy: I strongly believe that education is transformative. Through education and actually any form of learning, whether formal or informal, our lives are transformed, as we acquire knowledge but more importantly expand our understanding of the world in which we live and our place in it. Learning enables us to grow beyond where we are and to see and experiment with alternative perspectives of thinking and behaving.
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
SO302: THE STUDY OF THE FAMILY\
Core Assessment (New for July, 2006)
The Core Assessment assignment for this class will be a major essay that integrates, analyzes, applies, and critiques several sociological concepts and research findings from this course individually, together, and with additional sources from your own literature review and archival study.
You must incorporate the findings from at least five outside sources of original academic research in this essay. You may also include additional sources for examples or background information, but only reputable, peer-reviewed academic sources will count toward the reference requirements of your essays. This means that magazines, newspapers, professional periodicals, or internet sources are only appropriate for examples and illustrations in this project — if you have any questions as to whether a specific source is acceptable for your essay, you should ask your instructor rather than guess. Also, focus on articles or books presenting original research or theories, not on those reviewing others’ works or editorializing about opposing approaches. Reference works, textbooks, and literature reviews are all excellent places to begin your search, but you must find and read the original in order to develop your own reaction. Ask your instructor for source approval if in doubt.
You should also consider incorporating relevant and reputable statistical and other social scientific data collected by researchers, governments, and other agencies and organizations. A wealth of such archived data is publicly accessible through the Internet, and their use can help you better understand your issue and develop a stronger analysis and critique. Again, if in doubt, ask your instructor for approval of your data source.
If you do not properly cite those external sources that contributed to your work, then you are guilty of plagiarism. This will not be tolerated and may result in immediate and serious academic penalties. If you have any questions as to when and how to use citations and references in you essays, please contact your instructor. Your final essay will also be formatted according to the relevant portions of the American Psychological Association Style Guide. The main text of your essay will consist of no more than 3,500 words (or about fifteen pages). While it possible to construct a successful essay in fewer words, this assignment is comprehensive and detailed enough that most students will find it a challenge to successfully address all of its points in the allotted space. Begin work on your essay early and leave plenty of time for revision to assure the best possible grade.
SO302 CORE ASSESSMENT
Pick one aspect of the modern family, its structure, function, or place in the larger society and culture. Some possible topics include: the importance of marriage, gender roles, the place of children in the family, sexuality and the bearing of children, single parent families, the employment of parents with children, differences between families of an ethnic minority and white families, the acceptance of gay and lesbian families or other alternative forms, or media representations of the family. You should feel free to choose another relevant focus for your essay, but no matter what your choice, you should have it approved by your instructor before you begin in earnest.
Find scholarly or official domestic data that identify the prevalence, variation, and trends in your focus issue over the past few decades. Is there a “cultural inconsistency” between what is actually happening and what we perceive? You should also find at least one contemporary international point of comparison. Again, is the actual similarity or difference accurately represented in our common perceptions? One good place to start is the US Federal statistics gateway site: www.fedstats.gov; the UN, www.un.org, and the World Bank, www.worldbank.org, are two additional good sources for international data; the largest clearinghouse for publicly available academic and organizational data is the ICPSR at the University of Michigan, www.icpsr.umich.edu; and the University of Chicago’s NORC is one of the largest academic opinion research centers in the country, norc.uchicago.edu. Consider multiple sources of data, when possible, and compare and contrast the actual data with public perception of the issue. Pay particular attention to the trends in the data and use sociological concepts and findings from the course and your additional literature review to analyze your issue. Over time, what about these families has changed or remained the same? Why?
Evaluate the individual and social dynamics and consequences of your topic at the family and the social levels. Explain and analyze how larger social trends affect individual family lives. Try to understand and explain why some families, who share many characteristics with those of your focus, do not exhibit the same properties. Is this phenomenon having positive or negative (or both) effects on families and the society? Why? How? According to what standard? Analyze and critique examples of partisan positions on either side of the public debate over this issue, and identify and evaluate your own biases in the matter. How can the relevant facts, theories, and research help you determine who is more likely to be right?
Finally, what trend do you think we are likely to see in this issue over the next two decades, both domestically and in your international comparison location? Defend and justify your conclusions. What public policies and individual decisions would help guide this future trend in the most generally useful and beneficial direction? Defend and justify your conclusions.
Link to Class RubricClass Assessment: Students are responsible for:
1. Completing the reading assignments.
2. Participating in the class discussions.
1. Definitions of the Family - During the second and last weeks of the class, you are to compose a definition of the family that best reflects your understanding of the family at this time. Composing the definitions at the beginning and the end of the class will enable you to determine if your understanding of family changes as a result of participation in the course.
2. Reaction Papers – The Reaction Papers are to be one-to-two page reactions to some aspect of one of the assigned readings. In preparing the papers, you may chose to comment on what you believe is an important point made in the reading, agree or disagree with a statement or conclusion of the author or offer a related personal observation based on your own experience. Students are asked to bring the Reaction Papers to class for discussion with their classmates.
3. Film Analysis: Family Case Study - The objective of the assignment is to complete a sociology study of a family portrayed in film using a case study format. You are to select a movie from a list provided or choose another movie (requesting approval from the instructor to use the film in the assignment) and analyze the structure and functioning of the family through responses to questions that develop the case study. You are also to determine the sociological theory that best helps you understand the family and its behavior. More information about the assignment will be provided.
4. Research Paper Topic – The purpose of the assignment is to encourage you to select a topic for your research paper. Follow-on assignments build from the selection of the topic and assist in the preparation of the paper. State the topic, briefly explain why you chose it and describe what you hope to accomplish by writing on the subject.
5. Online Resources Assignment - The Online Resources Assignment is to be a critical analysis of five professional articles that are based on research data, not just opinions, and are related to the topic of your research paper. At least three of the articles are to be selected from academic journals in the Park University online library databases and no more than two may be obtained from websites. All five may be from the online library databases. The resources must be presented in APA reference format. A format for analyzing the articles will be provided.
6. Research Paper Outline - The purpose of the assignment is to prepare a draft of the outline that will be followed in preparing the core assessment assignment/research paper. The outline should include: a thesis statement (what you intend to focus on in the paper/how you intend to approach the subject and what you expect to find), the headings of the major sections of the paper, the culture or country to be utilized for an international comparison with American families and three academic resources that will be employed in the paper. The resources must be presented in APA reference format. While the outline is a draft and may change, it affords you the opportunity to organize your thoughts and develop a structure for the preparation of the paper. More information about the assignment will be provided.
7. Core Assessment Assignment/Research Paper - The core assessment assignment/research paper is to be a sociological analysis of a significant issue that is associated with the concept, structure, functioning or place of the contemporary American family in the larger society. It is further important to make a comparison of the experiences of families in at least one other culture or country with the issue. The Research Paper must be ten to fifteen pages in length (2,500 - 3,500 words), including abstract and list of references, and at least five resources of academic research must be used to write the paper. The resources are to be properly cited in the body of the paper and in the list of References at the end of the paper using APA Style. More information about the assignment will be provided.
Grades for the course will be determined as follows:
Assignment - Percentage - Points
Definition of the Family 1, 2.5%, 10
Definition of the Family 2, 2.5%, 10
Reaction Paper 1, 3.75%, 15
Reaction Paper 2, 3.75%, 15
Research Paper Topic, 2.5%, 10
Class Participation, 5%, 20
Presentation of Paper, 5%, 20
Film Analysis: Family Case Study, 7.5%, 30
Research Paper Outline, 7.5%, 30
Online Resources Assignment, 10%, 40
Core Assessment Assignment/Research Paper, 30%, 120
Final Exam, 20%, 80
Total 100%, 400 points
Course Grading Scale
Grade - Percentage - Points
30 points possible for the assignment
8. Online Resources Assignment
Points assigned based on the following criteria:
* Name of journal or title of website from which the resource is obtained – 2 points
for each resource
* Brief summary of the content of the resource – 2 points for each summary
* Statement of how the information has application to the topic of your
research paper – 2 points for each statement
* Citation of the resource in full APA electronic reference format – 2 points
possible for each citation
40 points possible for the assignment
Late Submission of Course Materials: With regard to the assignments, the syllabus specifies when they are due and I would like the writing assignments to be submitted as Word 2003 or Word compatible documents (rtf is acceptable). I will accept assignments if they are late, but your score on the assignment is determined and then reduced by 50%. Assignments will not be accepted nor will credit be granted for assignments submitted after the end of the class. There are no provisions for extra credit.
Classroom Rules of Conduct: The course deals with topics that may be sensitive and perhaps even controversial to some members of the class. This is a university class; it is appropriate to deal with important issues and to do so in a responsible, fair and open-minded manner. Remember, everyone deserves our respect when they share their opinions and comments, even if the opinions differ significantly from ours. I do not anticipate any problems with rudeness in our class and I want everyone to know that the conventions of classroom etiquette will be carefully observed. Failure to conform to university standards of conduct will result in removal from the course and other possible disciplinary action.
Course Topic/Dates/Assignments: Monday, August 18
Skolnick & Skolnick: Introduction, Readings 3, 4, 5 & 7
Introduction, Course Overview, Review of Syllabus
Wednesday, August 20
Major Theoretical Paradigms in Sociology
Friday, August 22
Family in Transition
Life Course Revolution
Monday, August 25
Definition of Family 1 Due
Video: The Amish
Wednesday, August 27
Theoretical Interpretations of the Family
Friday, August 29
How the Family is Formed
Changes in the Demographics of Families
Monday, September 1
Wednesday, September 3
Reaction Paper 1 Due
Video: Surviving the Good Times – 1
Friday, September 5
Video: Surviving the Good Times – 2
Monday, September 8
The Mommy Wars
Wednesday, September 10
Skolnick & Skolnick: Introduction to Part II, Readings 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 & 18
Destined for Equality
Children of the Gender Revolution
Friday, September 12
Video: Killing Us Softly
Monday, September 15
Film Analysis Due
Wednesday, September 17
Friday, September 19
Can Marriage Be Saved?
Monday, September 22
Wednesday, September 24
The Modern American Stepfamily
Friday, September 26
Why Do Gays Want to Marry?
Monday, September 29
Skolnick & Skolnick – Readings 20, 22, 23, 24
Video: The Orphan Train
Wednesday, October 1
Reaction Paper 2 Due
Children & Working Parents
Child Care in Europe & the U.S.
Friday, October 3
The Four Facets of Fatherhood
Monday, October 6
Video: The Vanishing Father
Wednesday, October 8
Friday, October 10
Research Paper Topic Due
Skolnick & Skolnick – Introduction to Part IV, Readings 26, 27, 29 & 31
The Second Shift
Monday – Friday, October 13 - 17
Monday, October 20
The Work-Home Crunch
Wednesday, October 22
Families on the Fault Line
Friday, October 24
Why Middle-Class Families Are Going Broke
Monday, October 27
Online Resources Assignment Due
Skolnick & Skolnick – Readings 32, 33, 34, & 35
African American Families
Wednesday, October 29
Friday, October 31
Asian American Families
Monday, November 3
Gay & Lesbian Families
Wednesday, November 5
Research Paper Outline Due
Skolnick & Skolnick: Introduction to Part III, Readings 36, 37 & 38
Video: When the Bough Breaks
Friday, November 7
Monday, November 10
Video: Women in the Third World
Wednesday, November 12
Friday, November 14
Monday, November 17
Research Paper Due
Presentations of Papers
Wednesday, November 19
Presentations of Papers
Friday, November 21
Presentations of Papers
Monday, November 24
Presentations of Papers
Wednesday, November 26
Presentations of Paper
Friday, November 28
Monday, December 1
Definition of Family 2 Due
Presentations of Papers
Wednesday, December 3
Presentations of Papers
Friday, December 5
Evaluation of Instruction
Final Exam Preparation
Wednesday, December 10, 10:15 am
The instructor reserves the right to change the schedule with appropriate notification of students.
Academic Honesty:Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Plagiarism:Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87This course requires a considerable amount of writing, as is appropriate for an upper division, Liberal Learning course. Your writing must be your own and all sources must be documented. The use of commercially prepared term papers or copying and pasting papers from the internet is, of course, unacceptable and I will check the authenticity of papers through the use of online plagiarism detection programs. Consequences for plagiarism may include: request to redo the assignment, zero points for the assignment, failure of the course and referral for disciplinary action including expulsion from the university.
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90Instructors must record attendance in all Park University courses and may not retroactively correct attendance records. If you must be absent from class, let me know, by email or phone. My email addresses and phone numbers are listed at the beginning of the syllabus. If you do not inform me in advance, your absence from class will be marked as unexcused. Problems with attendance will be dealt with according to the policy statement above.
Disability Guidelines:Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .
Last Updated:8/30/2008 11:24:21 AM