National University Research on My Family Sociology Paper
Hide Assignment InformationInstructions
For your final course paper, you will construct a biography of your family. In this biography, you will not only
analyze the relationships between your family members, but you will also discuss issues relating to families that
we’ve discussed throughout the course. You can choose to either write about your family of origin (to whom you
are related by blood or by law) or your family of choice. This essay will tell your family story, and no two will
be exactly alike. The only sources you need for this paper are the book and an understanding of your family
history. This is your story. You will not be asked to share this paper with anyone and your instructor will
maintain complete confidentiality. If you are uncomfortable writing about your own family, please construct a
family story and answer the questions below by applying the same concepts to this family.
In your essay, please consider the issues below. You do NOT need to answer all the questions, but rather pick
and choose those that are most applicable to your family and/or are most interesting to you.
Your paper should have the following sections:
Begin by giving a brief history of your family. Who is in your family? Explain how you all are connected. What
does it mean to be a family? (Everyone should answer this question. Your answer to this question is the
thesis that will guide the rest of your paper. Consider this your introduction and section 1 of your paper.)
How have things changed through the generations of your family?
Have there been interracial/intercultural unions or marriages?
What role has immigration played in your family?
Is cohabitation part of your story? How so?
Are members of your family straight- identified?
Are members of your family LGBTQ – identified?
Are gendered expectations present/taught within your family?
Are men and women treated differently? In home life? In educational opportunities? In work
Who did what in your family (think about chores, roles as parents, division of labor, sports and
recreational opportunities, etc.)?
Has there been divorce/remarriage in your family?
Are you part of a stepfamily? A single-parent family? An adopted or surrogate family?
What about work? Who has access to work, and what returns do they get from it?
How do they juggle both work and family life?
Are there strong or weak intergenerational relationships in your family? How has childcare and elder care
been handled in the past? How have these things changed?
Other issues that you feel are important to understanding your family? (This can include military service,
death or illness of loved ones, family violence, societal violence, judicial issues). (You should answer the
questions most relevant to your situation. Consider this section II of your paper.)
Using these questions (and anything else you would like to include), determine which categories of social forces
have most powerfully shaped your family. Look at your own family from the outside, using a sociological
eye/imagination. Situate your family within the discussions held throughout the course (including social,
historical, and economic contexts – review the discussion boards or your reading notes to help you frame your
discussion). How have these forces shaped your family? Does your family conform to the trends that have been
discussed? How so? How do they differ? Also consider how race, class, gender, and sexuality have affected your
family’s formation and trends, and which they are (or are not) following. (Consider this section III of your
What are the main findings of your paper? What are the things that remained the same over generations and what
changed? (Consider this section IV of your paper.)
The paper should be 5-7 pages in length, counting text only, it will be longer if you include pictures (if you use
pictures, explain who is pictured, why you chose that picture and what the picture means to you). Please format
your paper properly, included your name, a title, and date. Use double spaced pages with one-inch margins and
10 or 12 point font. Number your pages. You should use six to eight course readings for this final paper based on
your sociological analysis. You must include a Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) page with each reading
cited independently. Cite the authors of the articles you are using and include page numbers as appropriate. Do
not just cite the Risman book as this is improper citation form. There is a separate Discussion Board set up for
students to post questions about their papers as they develop.