Choose an area of interest for you about family life in Canada with which you have some personal connection or have always wondered about. For instance, perhaps you are personally interested in family diversity since your family may have immigrated to Canada (recently, or not so recently), or perhaps you belong to a family with non-traditional gender roles or non-heteronormative patterns of family life and would like to know more about a specific non-traditional form of family life in Canada. You could also focus your study on the transformations of families through history in Canada; on one specific ethnic group or around one specific aspect of family life; such as courting, marriage, divorce, caring for the elderly or for children, or specific aspects of these family dynamics under certain family situations such as divorce, or migration. Another area of study with possible personal relevance could explore the way Aboriginal families have been affected by the colonial relationship that has existed through history in Canada and its latest developments. These are just a few examples of the many areas that you can choose to explore through further study and research in which you can find some personal connection of family life. You can focus your research on one of the topics covered in this course (such as family and disability, Aboriginal family life, diverse sexualities, consumerism and family life, gender division of labour, job markets and families) or topics not covered in the course, but about which you would like to know more (such as domestic violence, courtship, family life for seniors, etc.). In the process of putting together a research project, it helps to focus on one specific area of family life in Canada and to choose a topic to which you can relate personally.
Make sure you narrow your topic down by focusing on one of its specific aspects or areas. Before you do this, you need to start your literature review (scholarly research) on your area of interest to become more knowledgeable about the broad topic about which you are curious. Go to the library or the library website to find scholarly sources and read the research on your area of interest in family life in Canada to be able to tease out its various aspects. This assignment will allow you to go deeper in the knowledge of your specific topic of study. In order to do this, you need to narrow down your general area of interest to a specific aspect of family life in Canada. Choosing too broad a topic only results in a superficial discussion.
Start your literature review early! This provides you with the opportunity to learn more about a broad topic that you are interested in and to find the specific aspect that you want to focus on and narrow it down properly.
Once you know more about your chosen topic, try to get your own voice on paper by writing the questions that you have in your mind. Then, research to explore your own thinking further, to learn what others think of the issue, and to find facts that support or refute your initial views.
Answer the questions that were on your mind and keep a good set of research notes that will help you in developing your thoughts and defining a clear thesis.
Put together an essay outline in which you define a thesis and all the elements that need to be addressed in order to prove it on the basis of the evidence that you have found in your research.
Complete a 2000–2500 word research paper on your chosen topic. You will be expected to address your topic using the conceptual framework developed in the course, within a relevant sense of history, and drawing on sound documented arguments and sociological evidence as required.