Research Paper

A research paper will be due at the end of the course. This paper will be worth a maximum of 20 points. The paper should focus on a topic of your choice.

Paper Topic

You may write your paper on the subject of your group presentation, but if you do so, you will be expected to examine this subject in greater depth, and incorporate additional scholarly sources and/or policy reports into your analysis (over and above the ones that your group has gathered for the presentation). You will also be expected to convert the theme of your group presentation into a research question that brings an original perspective to the topic.

You can also focus your paper topic on any other topic of your choice, so long as it relates to the gendering of immigration policy and can be used to further explore some of the moral-ethical perspectives on immigration policy that we reviewed in class. You are encouraged to use any of the themes for our course sessions as a framework for your paper topic. Although this class focuses on the U.S., please feel free to explore other national contexts, perform cross-national comparisons or examine inter- and transnational policy (for example, examining UN or European policy on gender and migrant and/or refugee rights).

All students must submit a thesis statement and draft outline of their paper with the instructors before session #9. The thesis statement and outline are worth two points. A more detailed description of the thesis statement and outline is provided below, along with a rubric for the entire paper.

Core criteria are listed below:

  • The paper should be at least 15 pages in length (following format guidelines listed under Course Policies).
  • The paper should either involve the analysis of secondary or primary data, or take the form of a library research paper, that uses a rigorous and original theoretical framework to exmaine published scholarship.
  • Papers involving the analysis of primary or secondary data should cite at least five scholarly sources, and library research papers should cite at least 10 scholarly sources. Sources that are gathered for a student’s group project presentation can be incorporated into the final paper but do not count toward these sourcing requirements.

Detailed Rubric

Thesis & Outline (2 Points out of 20)

  • 1 point: Coherency and relevance of the thesis topic

Is the research question well-defined (precise and conceptually rigorous)? Does the thesis engage an issue of relevance to the study of gender/sexuality, and does it use its gender/sexuality analysis to engage some aspect of the migration process or the formation of immigration/refugee policy?

  • 1 point: Paper outline

Does the outline provide an adequate description of the remainder of the paper? Is there a coherent, logical/conceptual relationship between each section of the outline?

The Final Paper (18 Points out of 20) 

The following requirements are listed in a suggested chronological order, but you should feel free to organize your paper in the way that makes the most sense to you; also accounting for the possibility that your discussion of some of these requirements may overlap with one another.

1) Theoretical Framework (Immigration & Gender Analysis): 4 Points

  • 1 point: Gender/Sexuality/Intersectional analysis

Is gender and/or sexuality a clearly defined component of the paper’s theoretical framework (you can also analyze gender and/or sexuality in the context of an intersectional analysis that accounts for race, class, legal status and other factors … but this is not required).

  • 1 point: Immigration analysis

Does the author's theoretical framework include theories and/or concepts that are relevant to the study of the immigration process itself or to the formation of immigration or refugee policy (also including immigration enforcement)?

  • 2 points: Originality (overall)

Does the author explain what their gender/sexuality and immigration analysis adds to a body of theory that is of specific relevance to their paper topic? The author should also devote some space in the paper for a brief of relevant theory.  

2) Sourcing & Supporting Evidence: 9 Points

  • 4 points: Meet sourcing requirements

The paper should cite at least 10 relevant scholarly publications (for library research papers) and at least five relevant scholarly publications (for papers involving an original analysis of primary or secondary data). For the former type of paper, 0.4 points will be deducted, per missing source, and minus 0.8 points for the latter type of paper.

  • 4 points: Use of supporting evidence
    • 2 points: Systematicity: Does the paper consistently use relevant and compelling empirical examples (from library research or primary/secondary data) to support the observations or propositions the author is using to structure their argument?
    • 2 points: Rigor: Is there a coherent and theoretically relevant relationship between the supporting evidence the author uses and the points they are trying to make? Also, is the supporting evidence being used to support the logical progression of the author’s argument, throughout the course of the paper?
  • 1 point: Citing sources

Up to ½ point (or a fraction thereof) will be deducted from papers that have a pattern of errors for in-text (footnote) citations, and up to ½ point (or a fraction thereof) will be deducted from papers that have a pattern of errors for end-of-text (bibliographical) citations. Papers should use the footnote reference system according the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, for citing sources in the body of the paper. A full bibliographic reference list should be provided at the end of the paper. 

3) Ethical or Theological Value Orientation: 3 Points

Your analysis should involve a discussion of at least one type of ethical or theological value orientation. Describe this value orientation and explain how it relates to your paper topic. You can use this discussion to either criticize the dominant values that have shaped the issue you’re examining or to describe an alternative value system. You should also use this discussion of values to inform your recommendations for policy and/or social change (see below).

4) Policy/Social Change Recommendations: 2 Points

Your paper should conclude with a discussion of practical suggestions for policy change or a broader strategy for social change, that is relevant to both your theoretical framework and which connects to issues you discussed in your empirical/data analysis.

5) Minimum Page Length

There is no section on the rubric devoted to “page length” but papers may lose up to two points from the overall grade if they do not meet the minimum page length requirements (there is no upper limit on page length requirements). Papers should be a minimum of 15 pages in length (assuming the paper is double spaced, normal margins, and typical font size; 10–12pt).

Student Work

The following research paper appears courtesy of Ashley Tarbet DeStefano. Used with permission. 

"Reform is Not Enough: Radical Ethical Frameworks to Transform Gender and Race Injustice in the Deportation Regime." (PDF)