Final Paper

Final Paper

MACS 320 Research Paper
Final Paper Due – Friday, Dec 16 at 5 PM

10-12 pages (at least 3,000 words)
Explores an issue in popular culture
Includes a title
Should not be a review, but an argumentative paper with a clear thesis backed throughout the paper.
Be well-organized, with a clear introduction and conclusion.
Have concise, focused paragraphs with meaningful transitions.
Be based on high-quality research from at least 7 outside sources. It should include a works cited page in APA Style.
Include proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.

You will begin by viewing (or listening to) an artifact of popular culture that is of interest or significance to you (think what we did for the comfort zone activity): a movie, television show, series of ads, movie trailers, musical, magazine, sports, music, album etc., paying attention to how it reflects issues from this course. You will then use this text as a jumping off point for your research.

This is just a brainstorming exercise to get you started. Your jumping off point can be the focus of your paper or it might not appear at all. It’s a way to get you started.

Your paper, therefore, should stem from questions that arise from you artifact. The goal of your paper is to answer an interesting research question and to make an argument based research and provide a new understanding of your topic.

Let’s say I watched an episode of Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show. Some questions going into a paper might be: How does Trevor Noah’s show differ from Jon Stewart’s version and what are the ramifications? How do late-night comedy shows affect political habits of younger viewers. Why is everyone who hosts a late-night talk show right now a man? What does this representation mean? Does it matter? What political economic realities affect late-night? What role does satire play in political activism?

The most important question is the SO WHAT? If I stopped at how and why, I would simply be writing a report, regurgitating the information I gathered from my sources. The crux of the paper is the so what, the synthesis of this information into an argument. What are the ramifications of The Daily Show?  Is this something to be embraced ? Is The Daily Show affecting society, or is it actually just reflecting it? What is the result on the viewer?

Your topic needs to be narrow enough to cover in a 10 page paper. So you wouldn’t write a paper about all of late-night television from the beginning of TV to now. You would want to write about the difference between Jon Stewart and Trevor Noah as hosts, and why those difference matter. Remember – SPECIFICITY is your friend.

Again – your show can be a jumping off point for other issues – it doesn’t have a play a major role in the paper. Also remember that you don’t just have to stick to representation! You can write about production or consumption/reception (ie – media as an industry or media audiences).

Due Dates
Paper Topic
Monday, 11/14 at 11:59PM
On compass
This will simply be a list containing:
1. Your jumping-off point pop culture artifact
2. Your topic
3. A list of possible research questions generated from the topic

Formal proposal and list of 7 Sources
Monday, 11/28 at 11:59PM
On Compass
You will write a 1-2 page (double-spaced) Proposal. It will explain your topic, the significance of the topic, what you know about the topic already, and the questions you seek to answer through you paper. You will want to do some preliminary research and identify sources. These can include, but shouldn’t be limited to, class material. You should have at least 5 academic sources (from articles or books), though you will probably need additional sources from newspapers, magazines, or blogs. Wikipedia, dictionaries, and encyclopedias do not count as sources.

You will also include a bibliography in APA Style at the end of your proposal with a list of 7 potential sources.

Final Paper

Your final paper should be formatted as follows: Font: Times New Roman, 12pt., 1-inch margins on all four sides, double-spaced.
If you want comments: Wednesday, December 14th at 5PM
No comments:  Friday, December 16th at 5PM
In my mailbox at Greg Hall 119

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