DIAS Research Essay Assignment
Contemporary Issues in Diversity
Length: 4-6 pages (double spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins all the
way around, no spaces between paragraphs). Reference/Works Cited page not included in
Format: No title page needed.
Sources: 4 scholarly sources (see note below).
Topic: Scan through Chapters 8-14 (not including 13), focusing on a topic that has personal or
professional meaning for you. Ask questions to direct your research: Is it true that
undocumented workers cost our economy more than they benefit it? Are Asian students
“naturally” better at math? Are men are less nurturing and therefore less capable of taking care
of small children? Is Affirmative Action effective or ineffective? Does law enforcement racially
profile? Why do boys frequently have lower GPA’s but higher standardized test scores? Does
therapy to change sexual orientation work? Would a deaf person prefer to be hearing? Are
people with mental illness violent?
The topic must be a contemporary issue. You may not write a historical essay. For example, an
essay that covers the history of sexism during World War 2 would not be acceptable. Also, the
essay must explore the issue in contemporary American society. Essays may not be focused on
the issue world-wide. You may compare the US to other countries to make a point, but it can’t
be the focus of the paper.
Your paper is about asking a genuine question and using research to answer it. This should be
something you truly have a question about. This is your opportunity to research this and
uncover the facts, the fictions, and the attitudes that surround that question. Begin by looking
through the book and thinking about the issues and ideas that really interest you. I suggest you
go with your strongest interest, rather that whatever looks easiest. Please contact me if you
would like help picking a topic.
Narrow your topic as much as you can! Topics such as “Is there sexism in public schools?” are
much too broad. A much more narrow question would be, “Are standardized tests biased
towards girls or boys?” Sometimes, you can’t know how you will narrow your topic until you
have done some research.
As long as your final paper is in the same topic area, you do not need my permission to narrow
it. If you wanted to change topics completely (such as changing from racism to ableism), you
must get approval.
Topic areas to consider (these are options, but you are welcome to select any topic from
Chapters 8-12 and 14):
1. Native Americans 2. African-Americans
3. Latino/Hispanic 4. Asian Americans
5. Immigration 6. LGBT
7. Economic/Income levels 8. Differing Abilities (physical, mental, social or learning)
9. Gender Roles 10. Religions/Faith
11. Age issues
Content to cover (It does not have to be in this order):
1. What is the question, assumption, idea that you are starting with (the more focused your
topic, the better)?
2. What does the book say about the topic (or related to the issue)?
3. What does your outside research say?
4. What are your own conclusions about this issue as related to the topic of diversity?
Sources: In addition to your textbook, you must use at least 3 other written, copyrighted,
Highly recommended (Required for an A paper)
• academic journals (found in Academic Search Complete or other database. Google
scholar is not a database).
Somewhat recommended (Including only sources such as these will result in a grade no higher
• well-known newspapers and magazines (Time, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New
York Times, LA Times, Plain Dealer, Beacon Journal)
Use with extreme caution (Only use these if you cannot find the information in a higher quality
sources. Avoid if possible.)
• news websites (CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, etc.)
Not recommended/Do not use (Papers using only these sources will not receive a passing
grade. Papers depending heavily on these websites will not earn above a C):
• very biased websites
• YouTube videos
Avoid Plagiarism! Cite!
• Paper must be 100% newly written by you for this course. No recycled papers, parts of
papers or speeches.
• APA In-text citations as well as a works cited/references page.
• Points will be deducted for not citing or incorrect citing.
• Plagiarism will result in a “0” for the paper.
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