“The People’s Temple” of Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre

| November 23, 2015

Introduction to Sociology – Final Paper


Objective of Paper: This is a standard research paper based on secondary and primary sources. It should address its topic from a sociological perspective. This means that whatever topic you pick should be discussed using terminology from the readings and class discussions, should be critically examined (meaning its construction, labels, and groups should be discussed and critiqued), and should be placed in a larger context based on what we’ve read and the material we’ve discussed.


Format: The paper must be typed in Times New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced. Points will be deducted for not following these specifications. Do not use color, include images, or provide a cover page. List your name, the course name, and the term at the top of the page, then write your title, then begin the paper. Papers must be at least 6 pages (not including the reference page). Points will be deducted if papers less than 6 and exceed 9 pages.


Citation Style: All citations (to be discussed later in this document) should be in American Sociological Association (ASA) format. See this website:https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/583/02/ for information on in-text citations as well as reference page formatting (you’ll have to click on a link to get to the reference page specifications). All citations must appear in the text. You cannot simply list them all at the end of the paper. If you take an idea or a quote from an author, you must cite that author in the text and include her in the reference page as well. Failure to properly cite will result in point deductions.


Layout of Paper: The paper should be divided into FIVE parts:

–          Introduction: You will introduce your topic and briefly describe it. You must also tell the reader:

l  Why this topic should be interesting to an average reader (e.g., why should I care about the history of the “insanity” please in US courts if I am not a lawyer?)

l  Why the topic is sociological

–          Literature Review: Since you are probably not the first person to research this topic, you should do some reading of past authors’ works. You should give a summary of their works and explain why it is important to be aware of their works before doing your own research on your topic. You must use a minimum of 4 sources in your literature review. Also, you may only use academic sources or government publications. Acceptable sources are: academic books, journal articles from peer-reviewed journals, and government publications. Unacceptable sources include (but are not limited to): magazines, newspapers, blogs, “.com” websites, online news articles, or non-academic books. There are two major types of literature to look for:

l  Literature which covers your topic specifically

l  Literature which covers a topic somewhat related to your topic, but which helps you understand your own topic. For instance, if I’m writing a paper on a specific “Doomsday Cult” in Texas, I might end up with a lot of literature that examines other cults in other places at other times, but not necessarily any literature that examines my specific topic.

–          Main Section: Here you will present detailed information on your specific topic. Assume the reader knows almost nothing about your topic. In addition to academic sources, in this section you may use news sources to provide background on your topic, however thesemust be from reputable news sources, such as major American and foreign news outlets. This does not include blogs, entertainment news sources, news sources with serious credibility issues, or satirical news sources. Be sure to talk about why your topic relates to your literature review, and what about it would be interesting from asociological perspective.

l  Examples of acceptable news sources:

NBC, ABC, CBS, The BBC, al-Jazeera, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

l  Examples of unacceptable news sources:

Any blog, TMZ, The Daily Show, North Korean State News, Wikipedia, something you heard from your neighbor.

–          Theory: Using at least TWO theoretical perspectives from the course, talk about how sociologists might understand your topic. For example, what might Marx think caused this particular social problem? What would Comte think we ought to do about it? What do you think? This section is more subjective, and if you have a preference for a particular theorist, you are free to take that position. But you must include at least TWOperspectives, even if you disagree with one or both.

–          Conclusion: Summarize the major points of your topic, what previous researchers have said about it, and what some of the major theoretical perspectives on it might be. Include your own opinion, if you have one.

–          Reference Page: A proper reference page must be included at the end which contain all of the sources that you used in your literature review, main section, and theory section. This must be in official ASA format (see the link listed above).


Point Breakdown by Section

Introduction (5)

Literature Review (10)

Main Section (5)

Theory (10)


Conclusion & Reference Page (5)



“The People’s Temple” of Jim

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