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SOC 3821: Sociology of Community Research Guide

Fall 2017

Research Project Fall 2017

Research Assignment

Identify a particular ethnic community or enclave in the United States and research its historical roots and contemporary characteristics.

Describe the ethnic community you selected. Place this community in socio-historical context. Discuss the degree of assimilation and acculturation the group has exhibited. Describe relevant cultural practices, efforts at building
community, and challenges faced by members of the community.

Examples of Ethnic Communities in the United States
Irish in South Boston, Polish in Detroit, Cubans in Miami, Somalis in Minneapolis, Hmong in St.
Paul, Finnish on the Iron Range, etc.

Use a variety of sources including at least 5 scholarly references are required. Include a bibliography using MLA or APA citation style.

When writing about cultures you are not a part of, be sure that some of your readings were written by cultural insiders. This adds to the credibility of the information and will help you get a fuller, more balanced point of view.

Find Background Information

Once you have a basic idea of your topic, look for information to help you narrow down the topic, focus on a specific question, and generate keywords for your searches.

In this part of the process you're just browsing around to see what you find. If you find something you're sure you want to look at later, make sure you keep track of it!

You can start with a look at resources like Wikipedia to get some basic definitions and background info. For this project you will also want to look for internet sources that were generated by people of the culture/community that you are writing about to get background information. See Evaluate Sources on the Library's Start Your Research page to think critically about the internet sources you use.

Then, look into the resources below to see how scholars think and write about the subject that you're interested in. This will help you formulate a question and become familiar with the kinds of scholarly articles you'll be able to use to do your research.

Find Web Sites for Background Information

To search for current information about a community that is provided by the community itself, searching the internet can be an effective way to find information. Once you have found one or two websites, read them in depth to follow links and obtain information on current issues that are important to the community.

A sample search for community resources might look like this:
Hmong community St. Paul Minnesota

Mexican Americans Wisconsin

Choose sites from your results list that are clear community centers or community-based organizations and non-profits such as Hmong Cultural Center or Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation.

See Evaluate Sources on the Library's Start Your Research page to think critically about the internet sources you use.