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SCHOLARLY RESEARCH TERM PAPER GUIDELINES The Research Term Paper Assignment Social Work


The Research Term Paper Assignment

Social Work 110 requires all students to write a 10-11 page (including cover page, abstract, references, and annotated bibliography pages) scholarly research term paper on a field of service in the social work profession, in the American Psychological Association (APA) format.

Your Paper Will Consist of the Following Sections:

Cover Page


Literature Review

Problem/Social Issue Defined

Target Population

Practice Methods

Social Worker Role

Presenting Problems

Barriers to Service for the Target Population

Individual & Environmental/Societal Causes of problems

Ethical Issues & Value Issues for Social Workers in this field

Anticipated Income

Personal Assessment

References Page

Annotated Bibliography

Steps to Success:

Pick a problem or social issue: Social workers attempt to address all sorts of problems. What’s your dream job? Is there a problem or social issue that exists that you think you want to make a career out of solving? If you cannot think of one you can use the list below to get you started:

Child Welfare

Family, Youth and Children

Pregnancy & Parenting

School Social Work

Mental Health

Older Adults

Substance Abuse

Military Social Work

Medical Social Work

Grant Writing

International Social Work

Refugees and/or Immigrants


Crisis and Trauma


Violence, Victims and Criminal Justice

Community Organizing

Next Step: Study The Assignment Questions: You will have to do research in order to answer the following questions:

Define the problem or social issue

Who is the target population? Who are the clients in need of service? Include information regarding the age ranges, gender, and socioeconomic status.

What are the practice methods that social workers use in this field? Indicate micro and/or macro practice methods and provide example(s). If they do micro, such as case management, you would need to say micro and give examples of case management that they do.

What is the role of the social worker in this field? What do social workers do to help solve the problem? Example: Case management

What are the presenting problems in this field of service? Example: what are challenges Child Welfare Services face? Insufficient funding? Not enough employees? Etc.

What are the barriers to service for the target population? What gets in the way of clients of the problem you chose getting services? Example: lack of transportation.

What are the individual and environmental/societal causes of problems? What do clients do that get them into the situation to where they need help with the problem? How does society ‘cause’ the problem to exist?

What ethical and/or value dilemmas do social workers face in this field of service? Example: conflict of interest, confidentiality, sexy clients.

What is the anticipated income for social workers in this field of service?

What is your assessment of your continued interest in the field of service? (This is the only part of the paper that can be written in 1st person) Example: After completing this assignment I realized I really love this field. The reasons why are…

Research: Begin your research for appropriate and relevant reference materials. Use the questions above to help you find relevant books and articles.

What are the Literature Requirements?

You will need at least one book or e-book

Choose a book that focuses mainly on the problem or social issue that you have chosen (textbooks can be used as a supplemental source, but not the main source).

The course textbook from Social Work 110 cannot be used as a reference.

The book should be written by a professional in the field of social work or a closely related field

You will need three scholarly articles – What is a scholarly article?

A scholarly article is written by a professional and is usually contained in a professional journal.

Social work journals and articles written for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) are good examples of appropriate references.

“Social Work Today” is an online/hard copy magazine that often has scholarly research articles available; it is available in the Cuyamaca Library.

You can also use journal articles from other related professions such as psychology, psychiatry, nursing, pediatrics, and education.

Articles, research, and statistics from the Federal Government are acceptable.

You can also use e-scholarly articles.

g. Popular culture magazines, newspaper articles, and websites are not appropriate for scholarly research (Examples: Wikipedia and

*Please be sure that all resources include author/s and dates. Undated books, articles, or websites will not be accepted.

Important Research Specifics

1. All resources must be from the United States of America

2. All resources must be no older than 2010. The date must be included!

Locating Your Research

The Cuyamaca Library (Library building, LRC/C)

1. The librarians have a copy of the Scholarly Research Term Paper Guidelines. They are all very skilled in helping students find appropriate resources and materials for this research assignment. The Cuyamaca Library has also purchased a large number of new books that will help social work students with this research term paper.

2. For assistance with research contact a librarian in person at the reference desk on the 2nd floor.

3. There is also an extensive online library that includes e-books and e-articles specifically for the subject of social work.

4. For online reference assistance:

For Social Work Resources (e-books and e-articles):

Accessing Resources from Cuyamaca Library

1. The Cuyamaca College Librarians can reserve books from the SDSU Library at no cost to Cuyamaca students. Scholarly articles are also available from SDSU.

Paper Formatting: APA has very specific formatting requirements. Your paper MUST include the following topic headers in italic font. The paper will have the following sections, in the order provided below. Topic headers are essentially titles of each section, written in as follows:

Cover Page


Literature Review

Problem/Social Issue Defined

Target Population

Practice Methods

Social Worker Role

Presenting Problems

Barriers to Service for the Target Population

Individual & Environmental/Societal Causes of problems

Ethical Issues & Value Issues for Social Workers in this field

Anticipated Income

Personal Assessment

References Page

Annotated Bibliography

The Bibliography or “References” Section

1. There will be one “References” section for both parts of the paper, located at the end of the paper, in APA format. A sample APA format “References” page is available with a sample APA format paper located in Canvas under “Files.”

The Annotated Bibliography

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of reference materials that you have used for researching a topic. In APA format it is called “References.” Your bibliography should include at least one book and three scholarly articles.

What is the purpose of an Annotated Bibliography?

Provides preparation for the research term paper by familiarizing the writer with the current research, trends, and themes related to the topic. Exposes the writer to different resources to assist in analysis and critical thinking.

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Write an Annotated Bibliography for each of the 4 references; this will include one book and three scholarly articles.

Each annotated reference should include these three parts:

A Summary of the main arguments and points of the reference

An Assessment and Evaluation of the reference – Is this a reliable, objective resource? Be sure to explain your point of view.

A Reflection on how this resource will help you write your research paper (Example: How will it help you understand the field of service? Does the information help cover the topic headings on pages 4-5 of this document?)

An instructor sample of an Annotated Bibliography for this assignment is located in Canvas under “Assignment.”


Resources for Writing an Annotated Bibliography (Owl Purdue)

For the definition and purpose of an Annotated Bibliography, click on the link below.

For a general sample of an Annotated bibliography in APA format, click on this link:

Annotated Bibliographies will be graded based on the “Summary,” “Assessment and Evaluation” and “Reflection:” outlined above.

Use APA Formatting (American Psychological Association)

1. Please consult the APA Style Essentials for general document guidelines such as the title page, abstract, body of the paper, text citations and quotations, and references (located in Canvas under “Files”)

2. A sample APA Format paper is available in Canvas under “Files.”

Goals of the Research Paper

1. Provide various viewpoints by discussing what others have written or reported about the topic.

2. Assess the strengths and limitations of the literature, identify and comment on the major themes found in the literature, and offer a critique of the work.

3. You need to base your perspective on your research findings and critical analysis of the literature review.

Final Paper is the finished product that includes a college-level discussion of the topic with accompanying research and supporting evidence.

1. All required topics are covered accurately, with supporting research.

2. There is an analysis of the literature that you reviewed.

3. The paper is written in APA format, including citations and the “References” page.

4. Grammar, organization, and writing are at the collegiate level.

5. Please refer to the term paper guidelines in this document for all requirements.

What are the Objectives of the Assignment (Student Learning Outcomes)?

A. To assure that each student by the end of the semester will be able to demonstrate the ability to research, interpret, and report information related to a specific field of social work practice, grammatically correct APA (American Psychological Association) format. These skills are essential in social work education.

1. Acquire knowledge and gain insight into a specific field of social work service

2. Gain an understanding of the values and ethics that impact social workers in this field

3. Demonstrate a beginning knowledge of how to consult and utilize research evidence to inform ongoing policy and practice

4. Demonstrate knowledge and application of APA format

A Helpful Resource for Writing the Scholarly Research Term Paper

The Writing Center at Cuyamaca College

Location: Communication and Arts Building – B167

Telephone: 619-660-4463

1. The Writing Center offers tutoring to assist you with organization, grammar, syntax, punctuation, proofreading, editing, and APA format. The staff will have a copy of the research term paper guidelines. They are very familiar with this assignment, and are skilled in helping students with research papers.

2. Students who utilize the services of the Writing Center consistently tend to produce high-quality research papers.

3. Be sure to make appointments with the Writing Center well in advance. This is especially true if you need multiple appointments. It is the job of the Writing Center to teach writing. As your instructor, I am available to help interpret the assignment.

Assuring Academic Honesty and Avoiding Plagiarism

Always cite your sources in APA format. Failing to cite sources is considered plagiarism, which is a form of academic dishonesty.

1. What is Plagiarism?

a. Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and will be treated seriously.

b. According to the 2016-2017 Cuyamaca College Catalogue, plagiarism is defined as “the act of taking ideas, words or specific substantive material of another and offering them as one’s own without giving credit to the source” (page 30). Writers give credit to sources by using citations.

c. According to Richard Nordquist, a citation is a source quoted in an essay, report or book to clarify, illustrate, or substantiate a point (

d. A detailed description of plagiarism and accompanying consequences are located on page 30 in the 2016-2017 Cuyamaca College Catalogue under “Academic Honesty/Dishonesty.

2. Common Examples of Plagiarism

a. Submitting a paper with someone else’s ideas, opinions, or research without citing the appropriate source

b. Paraphrasing without citing the appropriate source

c. Submitting the same paper in more than one class

d. Submitting a paper as your work that was written by another person

e. Submitting a paper that was purchased from the Internet or elsewhere

When in doubt, use a citation. Citations show that you made the effort to give credit where it is due. Always provide a list of “References” after your paper.

Submit Your Research Paper to VeriCite via Canvas on the due dates indicated on the first page of this document.

Plan Ahead!

1. Allow enough time to submit your paper to VeriCite. Submissions left to the last minute can result in late papers.

Late Papers: As per page 1 of the syllabus, there will be a 10% grade reduction for late papers.

The Tech Mall at Cuyamaca College – Assistance with VeriCite

1. The Tech Mall at Cuyamaca College

Building E, East, Room E 121

Telephone: 619-660-4447

On-campus extension: 2936

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Saturday/Sunday closed

2. Tech Mall website –

The Help Desk – Technical problems and log-in difficulties

1. Telephone: 619-660-4359 E-mail: [email protected]

Please ask if you have any questions!!

Cuyamaca College, SW 110 1 C. McCray 2021

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