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SOC 495: Sociology Senior Capstone (Professor Shellhammer) [Spring 2021]

SOC 495 Capstone Final Project Overview

Service Provider and Research Analysis Paper

Complete a 7-8 page paper (double spaced / 12 point font) describing/analyzing your findings using material from the interview, class material and assignments, along with peer-reviewed sociological and/or criminology and justice studies journal articles. (Note: students are not penalized for exceeding the suggested page limit.)

Your paper will build upon the work you have done in class and will be based on whether you currently have an internship or are exploring the “Career Path” after graduation for this class. Either project will require the integration of findings from peer-reviewed sociological and/or criminology and justice studies journal articles published in or after 2013 in addition to assigned class materials. This assignment suggests that you conduct an in-depth phone or remote or in-person interview with at least one of the service providers at your community service/remote intern site along with an analysis of the interview data. Career Path students may either focus on a remote interview with someone at an agency that is providing services of the type you may consider for future employment, or are currently employed with, or have completed community service/ volunteer hours in the past. This service provider can be working in any aspect of service delivery at your intern (or Career Path) site. Therapists, school counselors or nurses, youth advocates, social workers, program directors, police officers, juvenile probation officers, etc. are all possibilities. It might be someone you’ve interacted with previously (or not).

Selecting someone to interview may take time and you are encouraged to consider carefully when selecting an interviewee. Ask permission to meet him/her in via Zoom/ Skype/ or otherwise remotely at a place and time that is mutually convenient for the both of you. You may need at least 60 minutes of their time to get a thorough interview.

In your interview, find out the following:

  1. The person’s education and credentials.
  2. The objectives of the agency and populations served by the agency.
  3. Specifically what this service provider does at his or her job and the demographics of the population he/she works (may include challenges, examples of highlights, etc.).
  4. This person's perspectives on the social issues/problems this agency addresses (Note if there are other social issues in our bigger society, ie: from a macroperspective) that contribute to the need for this agency/program’s services?
  5. How are services being delivered differently now since close-downs subsequent to COVID-19 and public health restrictions?
  6. What are his/her personal challenges and/or highlights (can give specific examples)?
  7. What are this person’s suggestions for service delivery improvement at this site?

The questions above are intended only to provide a general framework for the interview and you must also incorporate your own questions that are designed to get at data that will best round out the information you need from your particular site to do a meaningful and sociological analysis for this assignment. Include questions you’ve designed that will lead to your provider’s views on themes covered in class to date, ie: social problems this site deals with, the impact of poverty on the client population, relationship building with clients, etc. These will be unique to your particular site! Before proceeding with the interview, think carefully about how to capture or collect the data (recorder, pen notes, etc.). Combine this interview data with your personal observations at the site to better understand service provider perspectives of their “real world” activities. This interview data will help inform your own understanding of the service provider perspective.

Drive by observation (optional): If possible, conduct your own drive by observation of the site location. This may be the site you previously researched for the GIS Community Analyst Assignment during Week 3. Notice the condition of the neighborhood, any pedestrians, the condition of buildings, homes, whether it appears to be a commercial or residential setting., etc. How easy or difficult is it to access by car or public transportation? Imagine you are a client and attempting to access services at this particular site. Refer back to the Community Analyst Homework Assignment. Any of this information may be included to inform your analysis for this paper (as appropriate) and to support your points!

Conduct a Scholarly Literature Review: Drawing on the topic or social issues addressed by your intern site, find at least two scholarly peer reviewed sociological journal articles and/or criminology and justice studies journal articles that help inform your paper research and analysis. The best way to do this is to make sure the scholar writing the journal is a sociologist or criminal justice studies expert. Please view the Sociological Abstracts database video and the Literature Review video for more information on how to find and use these resources.


As always, please consult Cougar Courses and your professor for full assignment guidelines.