OVERVIEW OF REMAINING ASSIGNMENTS
This document describes the TWO remaining assignments for this course, both of which appear in the original course syllabus. The first is an annotated bibliography (Part 1 below). The second is your final project (Part 2 below). The only thing that has changed since the beginning of the semester is that I’m provided clearer and more specific guidance with regard to your two main options for the final project, which may be either: a creative project with essay; OR a traditional research paper. The due dates are the same as in the original syllabus.
Annotated Bibliography Guidelines
DUE: Friday, April 17 (via Canvas)
Grading: This assignment is worth 25% of your final grade, as indicated on the original course syllabus.
Summary: As noted on the original course syllabus, you will prepare an Annotated Bibliography. An annotated bibliography is a collection of short summaries of sources related to a particular topic. This assignment is intended to give you an opportunity to conduct research and find relevant sources for your final project topic. You will complete this assignment regardless of whether you chose to do a creative project with an accompanying essay OR a traditional research paper. Your annotated bibliography will include the following for each of your sources:
- A summary of each source (journal article, book chapter, or news article)
- An evaluation of each source (its strengths and weaknesses in terms of method, scope, insightfulness, etc.);
- An explanation of how you intend to use each source in your project (which concepts, arguments, data points, examples, etc.).
While an annotation should provide an overview of the source for those who have not read it, it should also include specific details, quotes, or examples to clarify how you intend to use it.
Here are the required elements of your Annotated Bibliography:
Regardless of the format of your final project, please give your project a unique and descriptive title.
Include a brief (one paragraph, roughly 150-200 words) overview of your Final Project. Here you are describing in formal academic terms: your general area of inquiry (your topic and the kinds of questions you are asking); the literature your project is drawing from (and contributing to); the research/production tasks you are planning to execute (interviews, photographs, video work, etc.); and the broader social/political impact you intend to make with your project.
Scholarly Sources (3 or more sources, a separate entry for each)
Write an annotation (250-400 words) for at least four scholarly sources. One of these should be the assigned book for the semester. Other sources should be either peer-reviewed academic journals or scholarly books (i.e written by someone with a Ph.D. in a relevant field who holds a faculty position at a college or university). Use the Dimond library’s online database to locate appropriate articles in Communication and Media Studies journals (or related fields). Include the full bibliographic information for each entry. Use whichever format you are most comfortable with (MLA, ALA, Chicago, etc.) but be consistent. Include a summary, an evaluation, and an explanation of how you intend to use each source.
News or Journalistic Sources (3 or more sources, a separate entry for each)
Write an annotation (240-400 words) for at least three news articles that provide context and/or details about your topic. Please give preference to long-form journalism, rather than short pieces. Long-form journalism does more than report the details of events. It is substantive and thoughtful, and may be anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 words in length. Some good sources of long-form journalism include: The Atlantic, The New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, and Rolling Stone. Include a summary, an evaluation, and an explanation of how you intend to use each source.
Final Project Guidelines
Due: Friday, May 8
Grading: As noted on the original course syllabus, the final project is worth 30% of your final grade. Please consult the rubrics for reading and writing that are available on Canvas under Files (Rubric for reading.pdf and Rubric for writing.pdf).
Summary (from the original course syllabus):
“All students will complete a final project, on a topic of your choice, to be submitted at the end of the semester. You have two main options for the format of your final project. You may write a traditional scholarly research paper, or you may do a multimodal research project. We’ll discuss the latter option during the semester. In either case, your project must have a clear focus on issues of media and ethics, as well as substantial engagement with relevant scholarly literature (either from the syllabus or from other sources). This includes especially the virtues we discuss (authenticity, wisdom, integrity, courage, etc.). Remember to consult the Virtue Ethics Definitions document available on Canvas. I will provide more specific guidelines as deadlines draw nearer.”
Key Elements for Both Options (Research/Creative Project)
Whether you choose to do a creative project with an essay OR a traditional research paper, your final project should include the following key elements:
- A Clear Focus on Media. Remember that this is a media studies course. Your project should have an overarching focus on specific media content, technologies, and/or institutions.
- A Clear Focus on Ethics. This course is also a course on ethics—specifically, virtue ethics. Therefore your project should include substantial engagement with specific virtues like wisdom, authenticity, integrity, etc. Your discussion of any such terms should be grounded in relevant literature that you include in your Annotated Bibliography.
- Critical Analysis of a Specific Topic. An analysis is more than mere description. It means making observations about things that are not immediately apparent. These could be patterns that emerge when you compare multiple types of content. Or they could be historical continuities that become clear when you research the history of a topic. Furthermore, critical analysis identifies the necessity for, and possibility of, change or transformation. This type of analysis moves beyond an understanding of how things are to a vision of how things could or ought to be. This is especially relevant to our discussion of virtues like wisdom, authenticity, and integrity.
For creative projects:
If you’re doing a creative project with an accompanying essay, the creative element of your project (what we’ve called the media habits proposal) must meet the following criteria. You must revise your proposal until it is:
- Clear. Your plan is clear if you could describe it to a stranger in a 30-second “elevator pitch.” This imaginary person would be able to say, “Oh, I see what you’re going to do and I understand why you’re doing it.” For example:
- Specific. Your plan is specific if someone who heard your elevator pitch could walk away, execute your plan themselves, and produce something that looks remarkably similar in its concrete details.
- Demonstrable. Your plan is demonstrable if you can provide evidence that you executed the plan and that it had concrete, observable results. Evidence could take the form of photographs, notes, paintings, video recordings, audio recordings, etc. In other words, you should be able to embed (or link to) audio/visual material that demonstrates the process you undertook to execute your plan.
Length for Research Papers: Approximately 2,500 – 3,000 words. This is about 10 double-spaced pages, or 5 single-spaced pages. The length of this option is greater because this option does not involve any multi-media production like photography, video, etc., and does not involve time set aside for the creative project itself.
Length for Creative Projects with Essays: The length of your written component depends on how time-intensive the documentary and production tasks are for the creative part of your project (i.e. whether you’re taking photographs, creating a short video, etc.). Generally speaking, I expect that the written component will be about 60% of the length of the traditional research paper. So, probably about 6 double-spaced pages rather than 10 (not including any images, etc.), or about 1,500 to 1800 words.
Works Cited: Please include a Works Cited section that includes all relevant bibliographic information for each source that you cite in the paper. You can use whichever style you prefer (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) as long as you use it consistently throughout. Your Works Cited should include the following items.
At least 3 Scholarly Sources
Scholarly sources should come from peer-reviewed academic journals, or from books written by academic scholars (i.e. they should hold a Ph.D. in a related field). Use the Dimond library’s online databases to locate appropriate articles. Academic Search Premiere (an option within EBSCO) is one of the best:
If you’re not sure how to locate articles through the library database, please consult the following page at the UNH library website: https://www.library.unh.edu/find/articles-journals
NOTE: You CANNOT find or access all relevant scholarship through Google! Most scholarly research articles are behind a paywall. University libraries use your tuition dollars to obtain access to scholarly journals. This means the most relevant articles on your topics are most likely NOT readily available by doing a quick search on Google Scholar.
At least 3 Professional News or Journalistic Sources
Please locate examples of long-form journalism. Long-form journalism does more than report the details of events. It is substantive and thoughtful, and may be anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 words in length. Some good sources of long-form journalism include: The Atlantic, The New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, and Rolling Stone. The UNH Dimond library databases are also really helpful in searching for these types of source materials. Lexis Nexis is my favorite:
You can include additional sources that are less well-established (blogs, organizational websites), but these sources would be in addition to the minimum requirements. How you cite such supplementary materials depends on how you’re using them. Ask me if you are not sure.s
What is the topic of the paper? What’s the paper about? What is the specific problem you’re addressing? (Or, what question are you asking about this topic?) What did you do to address this problem or question?
What did you find? What conclusions did you arrive at? What is your thesis?
Introduction and Background
(Exposition of the Topic and the Question or Problem)
What does the reader need to know before you get into the specifics? Are there people, organizations, technologies, or shows that the reader needs to be familiar with? Describe them here, assuming that not all readers will be familiar. Is there a backstory to the problem you’re addressing, like a recent historical event that got everyone’s attention? In other words, why does any of this matter?
In this section you’ll explain, from a conceptual standpoint, how you’re going to approach this topic/question. Are there any specific ideas, concepts, or arguments the reader needs to be familiar with? Explain these here, assuming that not all readers will be familiar with them. We know what the topic is, and we know why it’s important in a general sense. But what are the scholarly concepts/lenses you’re going to use to analyze this topic? What is the deep thinking that scholars have already done that’s relevant to this topic here? In other words, you should make it clear how you’re discussion of the topic will draw from, and contribute to, existing scholarly work on related topics.
Analysis and Discussion
This is where you lay out your original insights, ideas, arguments, that you derived from conducting your research. You already mentioned your thesis earlier in the paper, but in this section you make the argument based on evidence, research, data, materials, etc., etc. Your original insights and observations should be fully explained and defended here. This section should make it very clear how your research paper offers something different, new, original, and insightful that is missing from the broader conversation about your topic. You’re steering things in a different direction. How are you doing that?
This is where you wrap it all up and hand it over to other readers/scholars to carry on the research.
What insights did you arrive at through this research? Are there any shortcomings in your research that you want to acknowledge or address here? E.g. things that, in retrospect, you might have done differently?
Why is this research and its conclusions important? How does it help us see things differently?
What are the implications of your findings beyond the specific topic you address? Do your conclusions suggest any particular actions? E.g. do you recommend specific changes to media use, media content, technologies, or institutions? How might subsequent research papers continue along the line of inquiry you’ve begun?
Healey, Kevin and Robert H. Woods, Jr. (2020). Ethics and Religion in the Age of Social Media: Digital Proverbs for Responsible Citizens. New York, NY: Routledge.