Term Paper (Optional)


For your individual or group term paper, choose a particular topic and use your interview notes and your previous analyses to write about this topic in detail. Your paper should contain a comparison of the interviews with the nursing home/assisted living facility resident(s) and your older relative(s) and incorporate theoretical and empirical issues that were discussed in class or that you read in the literature. You may write this paper as an individual paper, or 2-4 students can write this paper together as a group term paper. If students work together on this paper, the paper will be based on a comparison of ALL the residents and older relatives that they have interviewed.


The final term paper should be 8-10 pages long for an individual paper and 15-25 pages long for a group term paper (it can be longer if necessary). The paper is due on Tuesday, December 2nd, during regular class time together with the signed volunteer confirmation form (feel free to hand in this form earlier). The term paper is worth 17% of your final grade unless the average grade of your three exams is higher than the grade on your term paper.


I will grade the term paper according to the following criteria:



·         Is the paper typed and double-spaced?
(Exception: lengthy quotes should be single-spaced and indented on both sides.)

·         Is there a title page that includes the title, your name, and the course title?

·         Is the paper organized in a logical way (i.e. introduction, method, results, and conclusion)?

·         Were headings and subheadings used?

·         Does the paper have 1-inch margins on the left, top, and bottom of the page and a 1.5-inch margin on the right side of the page?

·         Is the font size either 11 or 12?

·         Except for the title page, are all pages numbered?

·         Does the paper contain any grammar and spelling errors?


1.      Introduction

·         Describe your research topic.

·         What gap in knowledge does your paper address?

·         Explain how your paper is related to previous theoretical or empirical work in this area (i.e., do a relatively brief literature review using academic journal articles and books – NOT web pages).

·         Present your research question(s).

·         Give an overview of your paper.

2.      Method

·         Describe exactly what you did to get your “data”, i.e., your interview notes.

·         Describe the settings (i.e., the nursing home and your relative’s home) and the people you interviewed in detail.

3.      Results

·         Describe your findings in detail. Give evidence from your interview notes to illustrate your points. Be explicit! Quote from your interview notes.

·         Were you surprised by any of your findings? If yes, why? What did you discover that was different from your initial assumptions and preconceptions? Which findings confirmed your initial assumptions and preconceptions?

4.      Conclusion

·         Present a short summary of your major findings and insights in relation to your research question(s).

·         How do those findings relate to past research? Do they confirm or contradict prior research?

·         Make suggestions for further research based on your findings and, if appropriate, recommendations for social policy and practice.

5.      References

·         List all the articles and/or books that are cited in the paper, using APA reference style. You need to have a minimum of five academic references per group member. Web pages do not count!


If you encounter any problems pertaining to this interview project (e.g., choosing a topic, writing the notes, analyzing the notes, or writing the term paper) come and talk to me.