Term Paper (20%). This is a research paper that requires FIVE other sources apart from the textbook. The paper must be at least TEN (10)pages with the introduction, body and conclusion clearly outlined. Table of contents is required. Subheadings must be in the table of content with relevant pages noted and also subheadings in the body of the paper. Write as many pages as you wish. Bibliographical sources on a separate page.  I prefer books not Wikipedia and .com, however, .org and .gov if legitimate will be accepted as a second choice.  The topic for this paper can be taken from the questions listed BELOW.  If students wish to do the paper on a topic not listed in this syllabus please make this suggestion to the professor. 

Term Paper Essay Question for Sociology of Families

3A. Demonstrate knowledge of sociological concepts or theories.

Critically analyze different forms of family using relevant sociological theories and concepts of the Sociology of Families

Develop an understanding of different forms of Families.

Develop an understanding of Family as a social institution


  1. Where do we get the ideas about what families ought to look like and how they ought to function? Offer examples of how you learned what families should be
  2. What does a family do for its members that other groups can’t?
  • Do you believe that voluntary childlessness, cohabitation, working mothers, divorce, and so on are dangerous trends in American society?
  • How is family privacy maintained?  Offer an example of how family privacy is maintained in society.
  • Would you worry about the attitudes and behaviors that your teen might be developing behind closed doors?  How much privacy is too much for them?
  • Explain how individual decisions to marry outside the faith or outside one’s ethnic group can be perceived as a threat to one’s religious or cultural group?
  • Support the claim that religion helps keep marriage intact.
  • Do families require some sort of spiritual component to be stable and successful?
  • Write two survey questions that attempt to measure a family’s “dinner eating behavior”.  The questions need to be close-ended.  Once you have written the questions, explain how these questions might simplify the issue of dinner eating behavior.
  1. Explain the difference between sex and gender.
  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of assimilation and multiculturalism?
  1. What are some of the major social and psychological effects that children experience if they grow up poor?
  1. In what ways do men and women love differently?
  2. How can one’s parents influence whom one dates?
  1. Is an increased cohabitation rate an indication that people are rejecting marriage? 
  1. What effects does working shift work have on a family?
  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of adoption?
  1. What are some of the risks and benefits of children spending time in day care?
  1. How does spousal violence vary across cultures?  Provide examples to support your answer.
  • In a divorce who should be given custody of the children?
  • What is the empty nest syndrome?

 22.  How will globalization affect the family?

23. Many college students live with roommates to whom they are not related.  In what ways are roommates sharing an apartment together different from a family?  In what ways are they similar?

24.  Should the societal recognition of family be limited to blood and legal relations, or should we be able to choose whomever we want to be our family? What is society’s interest in controlling which arrangements we can call family?

25.  Is the institution of family breaking down?  Offer evidence to support the idea that the family is in decline.

26.    Imagine that you’ve been given the responsibility of designing a set of government policies that will help families in the twenty-first century.  What would be your top two or three priorities? Why?

      27. When and under what conditions should a family’s privacy and autonomy be tolerated and protected by society?  When should it be breached?

28.  How can we balance an individual’s right to physical and emotional well-being against a family’s right to be free from outside intrusion and to make its own decisions?  Which of these values should be given priority?

        29.  Overall, would you say that Americans are becoming more focused on individual rights or family obligations? 

30.  Should religious organizations compromise their position on various issues (such as pre-marital sex, divorce, homosexuality) if their message serves to make some groups or individuals feel unwelcome?  How could doing so benefit families, religious organizations and society in general? At what costs?

31.  Should parents have complete freedom to home-school their children if they believe public (and even parochial) schools cannot instill proper religious values?  What role should government play in ensuring that these children receive adequate educational experiences?  Should religious organizations help subsidize these children’s education?

32.  What research strategies might allow researchers to study what really goes on behind closed doors?

33.  Do you think that parents can raise their children without emphasizing gender?  Is a ‘non-gendered’ childhood desirable?  Do you think it is more difficult for men to present themselves in feminine ways or for women to present themselves in masculine ways?

34.  Describe how slavery affected the structure and relationships within African American families.

35.  How likely is it that mixed-race children will be raised to appreciate the ethnic heritage of both sides of the family?  What concerns might the grandparents have?  In a society that is still bent on seeing race as clear and fixed, where would these children fit?  Do you think children of mixed race backgrounds ought to identify with one race, or would it be better if they identified themselves as ‘biracial”?

          36.  Describe the relationship between one’s social class and the likelihood that one will experience divorce, have access to trained daycare providers, and die prematurely.

37.  Suppose you were hired by the U.S. government to develop a program to reduce teenage pregnancy, where would you direct your efforts and why?

38.  What are the evidences to support the theory that sexual orientation is biologically determined?  How will this conclusion affect the concept of marriage and family?

39.  What are the advantages and disadvantages that marriage offers? Why shouldn’t everyone get married in hopes of securing these advantages?

40.  Working women face a number of dilemmas that pertain to their work and family aspirations.  What are those dilemmas and how do some women rectify the hard choices they have to make?

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