Please read the instructions carefully! I give you free rein to write about any social or political issue of your choosing. COMM 304 FINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT
1. GENERAL OVERVIEW: You will construct a paper of APPROXIMATELY 8-10 pages length (10-12 pitch black font; double-spaced; APA style), in which you perform quantitative research of a COMMUNICATION research question selected from the list given below. By “COMMUNICATION” research, we mean the focus of the question should be on the MESSAGING (how the messages are constructed, their meaning(s), their reception) rather than some purely political issue. QUANTITATIVE research means you will be COUNTING or MEASURING something using NUMBERS. You may, but are not required to, perform one or more of the statistics we examine in the course.
2. STRUCTURE: You should do a cover sheet, but it does not count in the page limits. APA has a format for cover sheets; use it. No need for an abstract on this short paper. Your paper should have the following sections, with SUGGESTED page allocations (these may vary depending on what you do):
INTRODUCTION (1-1 ½ pages) in which you tell us what you are examining, why it’s important, and why people care about it. This section may contain some material that needs source citation.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE (4 pages) in which you write about major findings of 5-6 ACADEMIC (peer-reviewed in scholarly journals) articles that examine your topic in some way that informs your own research). USE THE “COMMUNICATION AND MASS MEDIA COMPLETE” FULL TEXT DATABASE AVAILABLE ON THE LIBRARY WEBSITE TO FIND SCHOLARLY LITERATURE IN COMMUNICATION. MAKE SURE YOU CITE THE JOURNALS, NOT “RETRIEVED FROM URL OR DATABASE.” IN FACT, STRIKE THE WORDS “RETRIEVED FROM” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY FOREVER AND EVER ☺. The end of this section should identify the specific RESEARCH QUESTION you are examining (see Chapter 2 for what a “research question” is; you may, but do not have to, also examine a “hypothesis”).
RESEARCH REPORT (4 pages) in which you tell us the METHOD you used to gather your information, report it in quantitative format (numbers; any statistical calculations you choose), and DISCUSS and DRAW CONCLUSIONS upon the meaning of what you found.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (APA style; not part of the page count).
3. ABOUT YOUR TOPICS: You should pick one from the research questions below that can be analyzed through CONTENT ANALYSIS (the part of chapter 9 that you will be assigned; it’s pages 236-243 if you want to pre-read). Since we cannot do Institutional Review Board requirements online, we cannot use human subjects (questionnaires, interviews or experiments). You will count, compare, and analyze by viewing them in MEDIA (print, television, cinema, Internet). Your literature review would include articles that encounter the topic from other researchers. Your research report half would present data YOU compile on YOUR observations in media (not what other scholars observed in their publications). You should present the data in ways that make clear what you found; perhaps a frequency distribution table and/or a chart would be nice. You do not have to perform any sort of statistics; just present data (although you can try some statistics if you want). Then you discuss what you think the results mean.
CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:
What are quantitative differences in the way journalistic media portray a political or social issue? (you pick the issue, and the media you want to analyze. You could compare two forms of media on the same issue).
4. SPECIFIC DETAILS:
Use the APA (American Psychological Association) style guide. Place particular emphasis on in-text source citation style and conventions of page enumeration, line spacing, quotation, and bibliography. You have the “Kindly Old Doc West’s Writing Tips Powerpoint,” a sample quantitative paper, and a sample general theory paper on your Blackboard to show you in-text citation style and bibliographic style for APA, as well as other writing tips. You have to attend to this; I will not give good grades to papers done “however.” COMPARE YOUR SOURCE CITATIONS IN THE PAPER AND YOUR BIBLIOGRAPHY TO THE SAMPLE PAPERS I HAVE PROVIDED ON BLACKBOARD. IF YOURS DO NOT LOOK LIKE THOSE IN THE SAMPLE PAPERS, YOURS ARE WRONG.
Include cover sheet, bibliography, any other relevant front or back matter (not in the “9-10 pages”).
Must be typed or computer-printed in either 10 or 12 pitch standard font, double-spaced, and in BLACK INK.
Literature review should be selective; I would expect about 5 or 6 journal articles. They should speak to what has been done about the research question in the past, and leave you some ground to explain the need to either replicate the research, or examine areas that were previously unexamined. Sources should be academic, meaning professional communication journals such as Communication Monographs, The Quarterly Journal of Speech, etc. Any books should also be scholarly. “Literature” does NOT begin with www. USE THE “COMMUNICATION AND MASS MEDIA COMPLETE” FULL TEXT DATABASE AVAILABLE ON THE LIBRARY WEBSITE TO FIND SCHOLARLY LITERATURE IN COMMUNICATION.
5. GRADING RUBRIC: THE PAPER IS WORTH A TOTAL OF 100 POINTS, DIVIDED BY MY EVALUATION AS FOLLOWS:
REVIEW OF LITERATURE containing at least 5-6 SCHOLARLY sources………………………………………..up to 33 points.
A research report of observation of media content (no human subject interaction), reported as quantitative data, including discussion and conclusions about the meaning(s) of the collected data…………up to 33 points.
Appropriate use of APA format, including proper use of grammar, syntax, punctuation, in-text citation format, and bibliographic style………………………………………………………………………………………………….………..up to 33 points
You get 1 point free for being good ☺