Major Research Project
In a paper of 2500-3000 words (10-12 typed pages), please define, interrogate, examine, and craft a way to
understand an American subculture of your choosing.
Remember that in choosing your subculture, you were asked to make certain that your chosen group
Exists in the margins of mainstream culture,
Has a large enough formal or informal membership to qualify as a subculture in America,
Has identifiable values and practices,
Can be examined using terms and ideas we go over in class, and
Can be seen as parallel in some way to some of the groups we have examined together.
I also asked you to write a clear definition of the subculture that distinguishes it from mainstream, and consider
how that subculture helps define the mainstream.
You should be prepared, then, to draft the larger paper. In doing so, you should look to what you’ve already
written in your proposal, which, as you remember, asked for an Introduction to the subculture, a research
problem or need in examining the subculture, a corresponding purpose for your research, and a question your
researched essay is going to answer.
Let’s consider those for a moment:
The Introduction: This could easily serve as the basis for an introductory paragraph or two to your essay. It also
could serve as a second paragraph following a narrative opening, a strong way to begin this kind of essay and
something we’ll discuss as we go along.
The Problem: Many of you presented the problem as one of understanding, that the subculture is misunderstood
by the mainstream and this has led to faulty assumptions, bias, prejudice, and/or mistreatment. This certainly has a
place in your essay, perhaps in a paragraph following the introduction and/or narrative that begins your essay.
Consider some of what we’ve read from the textbook. In several cases, that’s precisely what the authors do. We’ll
look at examples from our reading in the weeks to come.
The Purpose: Of course, the purpose is to address the problem. This can be part of your thesis, wherein you state
clearly to your audience what you intend to do in presenting the subculture—overcoming the gap and leading the
audience to see the subculture as it is, not as it is perceived. (Think of the rodeo queens here—the difference
between perception and reality.)
The Question: This becomes part of your thesis, too, wherein you attempt to answer the question. Note that it
also should be part of your conclusion, which is going to consider the subculture again in light of where your
research has taken us.
10-12 pages + Works Cited
2-3 sources from our text (terms and ideas essays, for the most part)
5-7 sources you research
1-2 interview sources
PowerPoint presentation uploaded to Canvas