The semester assignment is an institutional analysis. Institutional analysis is a type of scientific work
examining how institutions – social systems that structure the behavior of individuals and other
systems – function in practice and documenting their effects on communities, individuals, and
society. Such an analysis may include a plan for reducing or eliminating these effects, but this is
not the primary focus.
Freedom and Social Control is a social science general education course. Because this is a general education course, the assignment described in this section
assesses student ability to apply social science principles to the study of social problems.
Thus, for this assignment, the student researcher will work in the tradition of the study of social
problems, which involves is employing a critical perspective to study a contemporary social issue.
These critical perspectives can hail from any number of political standpoints and use methods
derived from one or a combination of the core social science disciplines, namely history,
political science, and sociology.
An institutional analysis is an original work of scholarly research, relying primarily on outside
academic sources, that examines the effects of corporate bureaucratic culture, operations,
and strategies on personal freedom broadly defined as choice, health, safety, or wellbeing. The
modern business firm, or for-profit corporation, is the paradigm. Public institutions (criminal justice,
military, public assistance programs, schools, etc.) are excluded as subjects for the primary focus
of the paper, although these social functions when administered by private entities (such as
private schools or military contractors) are fair game.
For this assignment, the organizational subject of the institutional analysis must be a private forprofit
corporation. The effects researched must focus on those that cause environmental,
personal, or social harm. Harm can be either material injury to persons and property or
psychological and emotional damage to individuals (or both).
As the project is conceived as social problems project, students are to focus on those effects
either restricting or harming individual or group freedom. Papers that extol the virtues or benefits
of corporations are unacceptable. This prohibition includes an approach that praises with faint
damnation – the opposite of the English idiom “damning with faint praise.” If you are unfamiliar
with that idiom, look it up. Furthermore, the paper is not to be a humorous or satirical essay or a
work of sarcasm. Students are to produce serious scholarship that identifies detrimental impacts
and rationally explains them using the language of the social sciences.
Examples of corporate bureaucracies that may be used as subjects of the institutional analysis
include Dow Chemical, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto, Novartis, Shell Oil, and UnitedHealth. This list
is far from exhaustive. For an inclusive list visit this url: https://tinyurl.com/kuwfd6w. (Note: Walmart
and McDonalds are disallowed for this assignment as they may be used extensively in the course
to illustrate elements of the assignment.)
For examples of institutional analyses, see Joel Bakan’s The Corporation, a required text for the
course, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, which examines the
mass media, and George Ritzer’s The McDonaldization of Society. There are many other fine
examples of how to proceed. The documentaries The Corporation and Manufacturing Consent,
both of which we watch in class, provide examples of corporate bureaucratic effects on human
freedom, as well as suggested methods for studying these.
The paper must have an original title and a clear thesis. A thesis is an argument or proposition
supported by logic and empirical fact. This is a social science class at a public institution, so
arguments must possess a rational and secular character (appeal to ideologically-driven texts as
authoritative sources is unacceptable). The length of the analysis will be 1000-1500 words – no
less, no more – written in standard scientific language. The word count does not include title
page, abstract, or works cited page, all elements that must also appear in the paper.
As college-level work involves a great deal of writing, students should buy or borrow, if they have
not already, a dictionary, thesaurus, handbook of grammar and punctuation. I take writing
seriously and evaluate all aspects of written work. Please use the Writing Center (Cofrin Library
109) to address any writing problems. Students are to use the author-date system of the Chicago
Manual of Style designed for the natural, physical, and social sciences. Do not use the Chicago
Manual’s documentary note system (for the humanities). To make the use of this style a
straightforward as possible, I have provided on D2L the ASA Style Guide, which is based on the
Chicago Style. Students must use this style guide.
Each paper must meet the required minimum number of academic and scholarly social
scientific sources, which I have set in this assignment at four. The terms “academic” and
“scholarly” refer to articles from peer-reviewed journals and monographs and edited collections
published by university presses. If ever unclear about what constitutes a scholarly source, see the
teacher. Students are encouraged to go beyond the minimum requirement. For articles, the
service Jstor, or Journal Storage, provided by the Cofrin Library, is strongly recommended. For
journalistic sources, which may provide supporting evidence but do not count towards required
sources, Lexis-Nexis, also provided by the Cofrin Library, is recommended. The reference
librarians are trained and ready to help you find the appropriate sources.
It is crucial to the legitimacy of this project that the essay is constructed using only appropriate
sources. All sources must be relevant to the topic and theme. All sources cited must be explicitly
used in the paper. News articles, assigned text, and lecture notes do not count towards the
required minimum sources and the paper cannot be based on them; such sources can only be
used to supplement analysis. With the exception of those services identified and similar ones
found at the Cofrin Library, you are not allowed to use the Internet for authoritative or
informational sources; this includes online encyclopedia, other course web pages, Wikipedia
and other similar services. Although online corporate sources may be used as evidence and
examples, do not rely on corporate, industry, or trade publications for authoritative claims or
sources. An authoritative claim or source refers to analysis or information produced by experts
and recognized by members of a community of interests – in this instance, social scientists – as
highly reliable or accurate. Although appearance in a relevant peer-reviewed publication does
not guarantee quality, it greatly increases the likelihood that the source will reflect the rigors of
scientific research. Outside textbooks are disallowed. Papers from essay and paper mills are
disallowed. This assignment is not a book review, review essay, a summary of course material, or
an opinion piece.
Except for quotations (used sparingly and clearly marked by quotation marks, author, dates,
and page numbers), the analysis shall be in the student’s own words. The student researcher
must accurately cite all sources used in the paper. Plagiarism in any amount or degree will result
in a zero for the assignment and the student will not be allowed to repeat the assignment (the
deadline for submission having passed). Plagiarism does not depend on what one intends, but
what one does. For information on plagiarism consult https://www.plagiarism.org/. D2L has a
plagiarism detector engaged for this class. Your professor will also independently check for
plagiarism using this and other services. Papers purchased from essay mills, previously used in this
class, used in other classes, or written by others shall receive no credit. Be aware that professors
have access to term paper sites, keep records of past papers, and work closely with colleagues.
A properly constructed semester paper for this class must use throughout the assigned style
guide and contain the following components organized into sections:
(1) Title page with an engaging, informative, and original title on a separate page including
additional information (name, date, and institutional affiliation). All text is double-spaced (as
is the entire paper) and uses the same font type and size as the rest of the paper. No
images or elaborate or bold fonts shall appear.
(2) Abstract on a separate page announcing the importance and relevance of the topic,
identifying the problem or question the paper addresses, explaining the method or
procedure used, reporting the main findings of the paper, and suggesting implications of
these findings all summary form. A typical abstract is around 100-150 words contained in a
single block double spaced paragraph (no italics).
(3) Introduction. A paper must introduce the subject, generate reader interest in the topic,
pose a research problem/question, briefly place the study in the context of the scholarly
literature, briefly identify the theoretical approach and its attendant method, and addresses
the relevance and importance of the planned study.
(4) Body/Analysis. Because this is a theory paper, the content is mainly in the form of critical
engagement with the literature. Papers must use a minimum of four relevant scholarly full
text sources, i.e. peer-reviewed articles, books, and/or reports intended for an academic
audience. The paper must specify a sociological theory, isolating key concepts, and
presenting the crime type and relevant facts. This section will be the longest of the paper.
Some students find that dividing the body into subsections helps with the clarity of analysis.
Look at the articles you are reviewing for guidance.
(5) Conclusion. A conclusion is another summary of the paper, albeit longer than the
introduction and abstract and containing some discussion about the conclusion(s). Abstract
and introduction should be revised in light of the conclusion section so there is unity of
argument across the paper.
(7) Works Cited page includes only sources cited in the proposal (students are encouraged to
go beyond the required eight). It must be double-spaced and use hanging indents. No
source not cited and used in the paper shall appear here.
(8) Appendices, if needed, may appear containing charts, diagrams, etc. for charts, diagrams,
sample instrumentation, etc.
(9) Documentation includes photocopies of the first and only the first pages of eight required
articles and/or books cited in the paper. Search engine generated results are
unacceptable. A student must be in possession of an article or book to use it in the paper. If
a source is not available in the library, then interlibrary loan should be used. These files may
be uploaded to the D2L drop box along with the paper.
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