Your Theme Paper is intended to serve as a final demonstration of your active engagement with course material and how you are making it your own. You are not expected to produce “new” (i.e., original) research. Rather, you are to conduct your own further study (focusing mainly on current and recent research literature), and report on some particular aging-related topic of your choice about which you would like to learn more. (While it is not absolutely necessary that you continue with the same topic I approved after reading your Theme Paper Topic Proposal, I highly recommend that you get back with me if you are considering a change.) This assignment will count for up to 20 credit points total toward your final grade. You will be graded on the overall thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your paper; the more specific detail and pertinent examples you provide, the more credit you stand to earn. Do not restrict yourself to answers or viewpoints found in textbooks, PowerPoints, class notes, and resource articles; your own creative reflection, bringing together everything you have learned from whatever sources, will be a big plus. However, be sure to credit and cite your sources for any quotes or borrowed ideas. See the following page for the grading rubric I will be using when evaluating your papers. Your paper should be a minimum of eight double-spaced pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins), including a title page and separate References section. It must be written in either ASA style (used in most Sociology journals) or APA style (required in Psychology, Social Work, and many Gerontology journals). You will need at least five peer-reviewed references (i.e., no Wikipedia or popular media!) in addition to any non–peer-reviewed sources you might cite as examples to illustrate your points. (For a general idea as to the kind of discourse and writing style I will be looking for, see the accompanying PDF file “Sample Theme Paper – Eliassen 12-5-2000”— based on a term paper I wrote for a Fall 2000 graduate course in Aging and the Life Course.) Submit your completed Theme Paper, via the Blackboard “Turnitin Assignments” tab. Significant lateness penalties will apply for papers received after that date. To be sure that I receive your assignment, you may also send a backup copy as an e-mail attachment (and forward a copy to yourself to be sure you can open it!)
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