• The war on drugs – is it reducing rates of addiction and drug-related crime?

• The war on drugs – is it reducing rates of addiction and drug-related crime?

SOC 234 suggestions for essay topics The numbered headings are subject areas in which you can write about. The bullets indicate paper topic ideas within the subject areas. These are only suggestions, not assigned topics. By looking at them you might come up with some ideas of your own. If you choose an essay topic and are not sure how to organize your essay, don’t be afraid to ask me for help. You can e-mail me a proposed essay topic (along with your research question or thesis statement) and I will give you some feedback to let you know if you’re on the right path. 1) Law and the environment • Treaties between nations to stop pollution (e.g. Kyoto accord) • Storage of hazardous materials (e.g. nuclear waste) • Economic development and land use (e.g. mining, farming, oil drilling, and real estate development on Aboriginal lands) • Diverting or selling Canada’s fresh water to the United States 2) Criminal law • The war on drugs – is it reducing rates of addiction and drug-related crime? • Young offenders – are they treated too lenient or too harshly under the law? • Anti-terrorism strategies – national security or an infringement on civil liberties? 3) Immigration law • Are Canada’s immigration laws too restrictive compared to other nations? • Banning immigrants from specific religious or ethnic backgrounds (e.g. Trump administration’s proposed ‘Muslim ban’ in the United States). 4) Copyright law and patent protection • Digital file sharing and downloading – should there be laws requiring individuals to pay for digital information for their own personal use? (e.g. sound files, pictures, video, text) • Drug patent protection legislation – for the benefit of society (research and development leading to new life-saving medications) or higher profits for multinational pharmaceutical corporations? 5) Law and access to information • Internet monitoring by law enforcement agencies – a way to catch hackers, pedophiles, and terrorists or a violation of individual privacy? • The growing problem of identity theft 6) The Charter of Rights and Freedoms • Group rights versus individual rights – should some groups be guaranteed specific rights under the Charter (e.g. visible minority groups, Francophones, aboriginal groups, rights based on sexual orientation)? 7) Law and social control in other countries • Human rights abuses in China (e.g. government crackdown on student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989) • Islamic law and women’s rights in Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia • Poverty under dictatorships in Third World countries (e.g. countries in Africa, southeast Asia, and Latin America) • Laws regarding sexual orientation (e.g. outlawing homosexuality in Russia) 8) Labour laws • Essential services legislation in Saskatchewan • Right to work laws in some US states • Countries allowing the use of child labour 9) Law and public safety • Individual rights versus public safety – use of cell phones in cars • Gun control 10) Law and substance abuse • Legal drinking age, blood alcohol levels, drunk driving • Controlling alcohol abuse • Anti-smoking legislation • Legalization of marijuana 11) Alternative justice systems • Restorative versus retributive justice (e.g. sentencing circles versus courts in trying non-violent crimes such as theft and fraud). 12) Religion and law • Moral agenda for social reform (e.g. outlawing abortion and same sex marriage, allowing Christian prayer in public schools). 13) Law and the economy • Deregulation of banking and finance in the US. The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement called for tighter regulations as a way of preventing future economic disasters. 14) Labour market trends and the legal profession • Supply and demand for legal professionals in a changing economy – for example, the effects of computers, automation, the Internet, and economic restructuring on the demand for legal services. YOU MAY CHOOSE WHICHEVER TOPIC YOU PLEASE INSTRUCTIONS Title page Place the title of your essay in the middle of the page. Your name, student number, class, instructor’s name, and due date all go in the bottom right hand corner of the page. Do not put phrases like ‘running head’ on the title page. Page numbers Page numbers should go in the top right corner of every page. Do not count the title page as page 1. Text of essay This is everything between the title page and the bibliography. It consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The text of the essay should be 8 to 10 pages in length. Lines should be double spaced and typed in twelve point font. Introduction This is where you tell the reader what you are going to write about. Identify the topic you want to write about and tell the reader how you are going to explore that topic. Are you making an argument for or against a particular policy? Are you going to look at different sides of a debate over a particular social problem? Are you going to look at the history of an institution, policy, program, or problem? There are many ways you can go about writing an essay, but the introduction is quite important because you are telling the reader what you are going to write about. Body The body of your essay is the ‘guts’, or all the essential elements you are using to explain, investigate, make critical assessment, or define whatever problem or issue you are writing about. This is where you introduce evidence to show that a problem or issue exists and/or how the evidence supports a particular theory, argument, or viewpoint. You may look at how things evolve over time, or how conflicts arise over a particular issue, or how facts and/or data support or refute any claims that are made about any issue or problem. For example, you may introduce statistical data that show that workfare programs are not successful at helping social assistance recipients move into the labour market. The body of your essay may also be made up of different parts. Suppose you are looking at different dimensions of a social problem, such as poverty. So you may want to use headings to identify each of the dimensions, such as unemployment, education, substance abuse, mental health, nutrition, etc. Or if you are writing a historical paper you might want to divide your analysis of an issue or problem by time period and/or major events at different points in history. Conclusion In the conclusion you restate your position or approach to whatever you are writing about and provide a brief summary of findings. Here you determine whether or not your research findings provide an adequate explanation of what is happening, or if they support your argument. When to cite sources in the text of your paper The sources of any information you obtain to support your position should be identified. This is especially the case wherever you are using numbers (i.e. statistics). The work of other writers should also be cited to avoid accusations of plagiarism. So if you are discussing someone else’s findings or ideas in your own words or quoting another author directly, always identify the source. How to cite sources in the text Use the ‘social science’ style of citation. (Author’s last name, year of publication) e.g. (Vago and Nelson, 2014) If you know the page number of the material you are citing, then it should be (Author’s last name, year of publication: page number) e.g. (Vago and Nelson, 2014: 32). If there is no author, then give the name of the organization supplying the information. How many sources and what kind? A minimum of ten sources will indicate that you have done some research on whatever you want to write about. Books, chapters of books containing collections of essays, journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, Internet web pages, films, videos, sound recordings, and TV or radio programs are possible sources of information. Bibliographic citation There are several different styles of bibliographic citation, but my personal preference is the MLA style. If you prefer APA or another style, that’s fine, but your citations should at least have the following ingredients: Author’s Last Name, First Name, Title, Place of Publication: Publisher, year of publication. Example: Vago, Steven, and Adie Nelson Law and Society, Fourth Edition. Toronto: Pearson Education, 2014. These particular citations are for books, but there are also ways to cite other sources of information. To find out how to cite other sources, the library has several style manuals that you can refer to if you are not sure. Quotations Use quotations sparingly, and don’t start your essay with a quotation. When you do use quotations, you can use quotation marks if the quote is less than ten lines. If it is ten lines or more, then indent and single space. Spelling and grammar Finally, there are some errors I find again and again when I read essays, and I will briefly describe some of them. Use of colloquial expressions: This includes words or phrases like ‘the bottom line’, ‘getting a free lunch’, ‘panhandling’, or ‘maxed out’. Ordinary ‘street language’ has no place in formal academic writing. Misuse of the apostrophe: Some people mistakenly put an apostrophe before the ‘s’ to indicate plural objects. For example tool’s, flower’s, lamp’s, stall’s, etc. Or decades, such as 1980’s, 1990’s, etc. If you are describing a group of things, there is no apostrophe before the ‘s’. Plural words used as singular: For example, the media are a group of things, not one thing. So never refer to the media as ‘it’ or say ‘the media is’ ‘the media does’, ‘the media says’. It should be ‘them’. The media are, the media do, the media say. The ‘media’ are TV, radio, newspapers, etc. taken together as a group. A medium, on the other hand is one thing, for example, television. If you are just writing about television, then you would call it a medium. Data is another word that is mistakenly used in singular form. In actuality, data are a group of numbers, such as official statistics. So it is never ‘the data is’, but instead ‘the data are’. Read and re-read your essay to avoid letting such mistakes slip through. If you are unsure of your writing style, bring me a rough draft and I will proofread it. If I find errors, I can give you feedback so you can make any necessary changes to improve the quality of your writing. The university also has a writing centre in the main library that can help you with your writing skills. For more information, visit the following web page: http://www.usask.ca/ulc/writing