Research Paper

Length: Your essay should be 5-7 pages plus a works cited page. The total length, including the works cited page, will be at least 6 pages.

General Requirements: For this project, you will write a research paper in MLA format. This paper should include an introduction with your thesis in it on the first page. Your paper must utilize at least 6 sources. Each of those 6 sources must be cited within the body of the essay. You must include a works cited page at the end of your essay.

Thesis: Your thesis must appear on the first page of the essay. Your thesis must contain an opinion. Statements of fact are unacceptable as thesis statements. You need to take a stance on your topic

Organization: Your paper may be organized using any combination of organizational modes. Many writers organize their points in ascending order of importance, discussing the least important point first and building to the most important point. In another effective method, writers start with the second most important point, put less important points in the middle of the essay, and end with the most important point. You could also organize your paper in chronological order (but be careful with this method since you could easily end up writing an encyclopedia article type of essay). Whatever method you choose, your essay should be clearly organized into sections that can be easily identified. You should use a balance of the different types of evidence (facts, expert testimony, and examples) to make strong appeals, and you should avoid logical fallacies.

Most research papers begin with a section on the background of the topic before moving into points about the narrowed thesis. If you have more than one paragraph of background information to present before discussing the main points of your argument, then your thesis should appear in an introduction paragraph before the background section. If you do not have a lot of background information to present, then the background information could appear as part of your introduction. The background portion of your essay should not go beyond the middle of the second page.

Source Requirements: You need to use a minimum of 6 sources, at least four journal articles and books (any combination). The other two sources can be any type as long as they are credible and relevant. All sources that are used must be cited, and all sources that are cited must be used. You may include your sources in your research through quotes, paraphrases, and summaries, all of which must be cited. Make sure that you are using author tags and parenthetical citations. Make sure that your paper does not include any source information that is not cited.

Books: If your topic is historical or well-known, then you will probably be able to find books that are closely related to your narrowed topic. Often, though, researchers have trouble finding books that specifically focus on their topics. If this is the case, you might use books to discuss background information, to link broader issues to your specific topic, or to link your topic to other important issues.

Articles: You will probably find that journal articles offer more specific information about your topic. Journal articles usually come in handy for the meat of the argument, the main points that you are making. Even if a journal article is not directly related to your topic, it could still include information that is useful to you.

Other Sources: Other sources can offer unique or personal perspectives. Consider using documentaries, interviews, government documents, and credible websites for a fresh approach to your topic.

General Remarks: You may feel as though everything that you write needs to be cited, and that’s a common feeling for beginning researchers. If you have any doubt about whether any information should be cited, then you should cite it. If you did not know a bit of information before beginning research, then you should cite it.

Also, remember that you need to connect the ideas for the reader. Connect your quotes and paraphrases to you thesis, and connect them to other quotes and paraphrases. Offer your commentary on each piece of information that comes from a source. That is how your voice gets into a research paper. You are guiding the reader through the results of your research, not merely presenting the research.

Evaluation: This assignment will be worth 120 points and will be graded based on everything we have discussed in this class, including formatting, creative titles, use, incorporation, and citation of source material, organization, and quality of thought.


Research Paper

Required Texts to Needed to Write This Essay:

  • Plato’s Allegory of the Cave from The Republic
  • Chapter 10 “The Dark Side of Flow” on Jeremy Jones snowboarding revolution from Steven Kotler’s Rise of Superman (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
  • Your own research articles and sources on your chosen superheroes and extreme sport athletes including films, videos, and comic books / graphic novels.

MLA Guide to Works Cited and Citations: Visit this link to the Purdue University OWL web site for help with MLA citations (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Choosing An Extreme Sport Athlete On Whom to Focus This Research Paper:

Choose an extreme sport and pick a professional athlete you admire who excels at that sport and has been featured in the media. Do not choose an athlete already featured in Kotler’s Rise of Superman, and please make sure you had selected an extreme sport athlete rather than a conventional sport athlete. You are welcome to choose an athlete doing an extreme sport discussed in Kotler’s book.

You will write about your one chosen athlete in all sections of this Research paper. You are encouraged to consider researching articles, books, videos, and other media on your athlete, including those created by their sponsors and in the mainstream media as well more scholarly sources. Include some photos of your athlete in sections of your research paper that you deem fitting.

List of Extreme Sports (not exhaustive): BASE jumping, sky diving, wingsuit flying, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, freediving, whitewater kayaking, BMX and mountain biking, skateboarding, etc. Here is link to Nerve Rush list of other extreme sports. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Research Paper Structure

Instructions: Break your essay into the following sections, each of which is a mini-essay. Skip a line between sections. You will need to decide where to divide paragraphs within each section. No section should look like one long paragraph.

Each section shall be a mini-essay with

· its own title,

· introduction paragraph that ends in a thesis,

· body paragraphs that each start with a topic sentence and end with a concluding sentencing

· body paragraphs that contain correctly cited information from research sources

· a conclusion paragraph.


A. Introduction: Your Athlete’s Biography and History of His or Her Extreme Sport (2-3 pages)

B. Section One: Origin Stories of Your Extreme Sport Athlete and a Superhero (3 pages)

C. Section Two: Your Athlete and Superhero’s Connection to the Wider World (3 pages)

D. Section Three: The Dark Side of Flow for Your Athlete and Superhero (3 pages)

E. Conclusions on Your Own Potential Inner Superhero (2 pages)

F. Works Cited Page (1-2 pages)

I. Introduction (2-3 pages):

  1. In this section, provide a history of your chosen extreme sport. Sample points of discussion:

· Where and how did the sport originate?

· Describe the people who played the sport and their reasons for doing so

· Development of equipment, including for safety

· Popularization through commercialization and advertising or greater accessibility

· Your own historical points of discussion

  1. Provide a biography of your athlete’s sports history and / or contributions to the sport.
  2. Thesis Paragraph: End this section with a thesis paragraph where you summarize the thesis statements you will argue in all the other sections of this research paper including the Conclusion.

II. Section One: Origin Stories of Your Extreme Sport Athlete and a Superhero (3 pages)

Introduction: Describe the story of the superhero you will compare with your athlete in this section. The superhero you choose must have had a film made about her or him. It doesn’t matter if your superhero is from Marvel or DC comics, or was the brain child of a movie director. In your summary, you are not limited to the film version of your superhero; you can refer to comic books and graphic novels etc..

Here is a link to the Harper’s Bazaar list of top 30 Superhero movies for reference. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Thesis Question: What are two specific and complex similarities regarding the origin stories of your athlete and superhero?

· Origin Story Defined: “In comic book terminology, an origin story is an account or back-story revealing how a character or team gained their superpowers and/or the circumstances under which they became superheroes or supervillains. (

  • Stay away from similarities that are merely factual such as “Both my athlete and Spiderman had parents who passed away during childhood.” Instead that fact needs to be analyzed and could make the more complex argument: “Both my athlete and Spiderman turned to the all-engrossing experience of flow in order to cope with traumatic early childhood loss in a way that helped them excel at death-defying feats of skill.”

III. Section Two: Your Athlete and Superhero’s Connection to the Wider World (3 pages)

Introduction: Describe the story of the superhero you will compare with your athlete in this section. The superhero you choose must have had a film made about her or him. You can choose the same superhero from previous sections or choose a new superhero for this section.

Thesis question: Compare and / or contrast how your extreme sport athlete and superhero relate to and / or impact one specific aspect of their wider world. Possible aspects include their communities, nature, and the society of other athletes / superheroes. Provide two supporting reasons in your thesis.

IV. Section Three: The Dark Side of Flow for Your Athlete and Superhero (3 pages)

Required reading for this section:

· Chapter 10 “The Dark Side of Flow” on Jeremy Jones snowboarding revolution from Rise of Superman

· Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” from The Republic.

Introduction: Summarize Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Then describe the story of the superhero you will compare with your athlete in this section. The superhero you choose must have had a film made about her or him. You can choose the same superhero from previous sections or choose a new superhero for this section. Lastly, define what Kotler means by the dark side of flow.

Thesis question: Compare and / or contrast who your extreme sport athlete and superhero resemble more when having to cope with flow withdrawal: the philosopher who leaves Plato’s cave or the prisoners who stay behind? Provide two supporting reasons in your thesis.

V. Conclusions on Your Own Potential Inner Superhero (2 pages).


  • Provide a history of your own experiences both positive and / or negative with flow of any kind (not limited to sports) throughout your life.
  • If you do currently enjoy doing an extreme sport, what sport is it and what are the pros and cons of practicing that sport for you? If you don’t practice an extreme sport, which one would you choose if you had to try one, why, and what are the pros and cons of practicing that sport?

Thesis: Based on your research on your athlete and superheroes, do you agree or disagree with Kotler’s thesis in Rise of Superman that flow states are one of the most efficient and powerful ways to help you reach your highest potential by tapping into your own inner superhero? Provide two supporting reasons in your thesis.

V. Works Cited Page (1-2 pages)

  • Be sure to follow MLA format for your Works Cited page.
  • You are required to provide five sources or more in addition to our class readings. Make sure to cite class readings on Works Cited page.

III. Individual Section Mini-Essay Organization Tips

1) Thesis formation: The thesis should subdivide into the same number of points as your total number of body paragraphs. If you have two body paragraphs, your thesis would subdivide into two points. Thesis needs to be the last sentence of your introduction. The thesis should fully answer the essay question. It should also be specific, concise, and arguable. (Exception: Introduction Section has a whole thesis paragraph rather than a one sentence thesis like the other sections.)

2) Body Paragraph Organization and Unity: Each body paragraph should discussion one idea that supports the thesis; in other words, body paragraphs should not repeat ideas from previous paragraphs and should not contain more than one main idea.

3) Topic Sentences: Each body paragraph must begin with a topic sentence that tells the reader which thesis idea that paragraph will be about.

4) Concluding Sentences: Each body paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that restates topic sentence main ideas and adds supportive reasoning. The goal is to summarize the main examples you covered in that body paragraph.

5) Quotations: You will need to support any assertions you make with a discussion of quotations from the texts assigned. All quotations should have an introductory phrase and should use the following MLA format: Westwick and Neushul write, “XX” (24).

6) Quotation Analysis: All quotations should be followed by 4-5 or more sentences that provide a detailed explanation of how the quotation supports your body paragraph’s main idea.

7) Section Titles: Divided into two parts separated by a colon. Centered. Double-spaced like your heading and the rest of your paper. Capitalize all key words. Should be a fragment. Not underlined or in boldface. No period at the end of the title. Your title should not just copy the title of this essay prompt or the title of the readings. Example:

Section Topic: Your Two Thesis Ideas

8) Conclusion: A place for you to summarize your thesis and add any last reflections on your topic. Should be no longer than half of a page.

9) Essay formatting: Use MLA format. For help, see Purdue University OWL website and click on the MLA section.


Research Paper

The focus of this paper is to explore how residential patterns affect intergroup relations. You will use research approaches such as observation and secondary data analysis to further understand your community. Remember, you should conduct the observation (Step 2 below) on the same locale for which you completed the demographic report in your Week Three assignment (Step 1 below). If you are currently overseas or have other barriers that prevent you from physically accessing a location in the U.S., please contact your instructor for alternative assignment instructions.

Step 1: Using Secondary Data
Use the data gathered on your chosen locality in the Week Three assignment, “Demographic Report,” and implement any feedback from your instructor into your paper. If more data is needed, use demographic data from the latest census (available online using the US Census American FactFinder (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) and identify the various social and economic characteristics (i.e., education, population, housing, race, class, etc.) of this locale. You can also check government websites for your state, county or city for data. Present your findings in two to three pages of the paper.

Step 2: Using an Observational Study
Next, spend 30 to 60 minutes observing your community. Go to a central place in your town such as the center of the city, a major landmark, or you can drive or walk to different areas and observe for a few minutes. Take notes of what you observe, including the types of people you see, the economic conditions, as well as the businesses or other institutions that are present. Based on your observations, what can you tell about the economic condition of the majority of people? Is the locale integrated or segregated? In this step, consider the information you have gathered in Step 1 regarding social and economic characteristics, and identify whether it matches what you have recorded from your observation. Be sure to compare the data you gathered from your observations to what was found in the census data and make note if there are differences. Present your findings in one to two pages of the paper.

Step 3: Analysis and Reporting of Research
Analyze your data and present your responses in two to three pages in the paper:

  • Describe how segregated the neighborhoods are in your locality. Be sure to consider the various social inequality indicators: race, ethnicity, class, gender, and perhaps sexuality for some areas.
  • Indicate if there are policies, practices, or specific circumstances that have created and maintained these patterns.

Here are some examples of aspects to consider: Historically, has there always been racial segregation or not? Was it traditionally an area of immigration from a certain ethnic region? Is there an LGBT community? Was it an industrial area that had a strong working class community, or is it a technology area with highly educated citizens? Have there been efforts to desegregate or plans in the future?

  • In Chapter 1 and throughout the text, you have explored several sociological theoretical perspectives. Indicate which theoretical perspective best presents your analysis of your locality. Describe why you have chosen this theoretical perspective and ensure you include detail on which theorist’s work is most representative.

The Research Paper:

  • Must be seven to nine double-spaced pages in length (excluding title and reference pages), and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  • Must include a title page with the following:
    • Title of paper
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted
  • Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
  • Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
  • Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
  • Must use at least five scholarly resources, including a minimum of two from the Ashford University Library.
  • Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  • Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style