SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION CMNS 130
Term Paper Assignment For the major essay you are required to write an argumentative essay on a topic related to the focus of this course, communication (and/or networked communication) and social change. This gives you a good deal of leeway, and numerous potential topic areas are listed below to get you going. Please remember that these topics are very broad, so you’ll need to choose a specific aspect of the topic you want to explore. What is an argumentative essay? An argumentative essay is the most common form of essay in communication studies (and for many the most rewarding!). In this form of essay you will take a position on a certain topic or issue related to communication and social change and develop an argument with respect to it. This form of essay requires that you explore your topic in depth and that you have a coherent argument with respect to it. For this type of essay, you will provide a thesis or a topic sentence, explore several reasons (2-3) why your thesis or topic assertion is supported, and then anticipate some reasons why some people may disagree with your position. You will have to refute these counterarguments, and then provide a strong conclusion reiterating your position. You are encouraged to tackle unique subject areas that you feel strongly about, but make sure they relate to the following topics. Topic areas: Below is a list of topics that you can choose from. Depending on your approach, each could be the basis for an argumentative essay. Remember, you need to choose a specific subject of the topic, as each has many facets that could potentially be explored.
• Political Economy, Media Policies and Democratic Society: Explore the problems that arise when neoliberal media policies are implemented in media industry. Use an actual case study to explore the ways in which various players (government, politician, corporate media, media regulatory institution, and other interested groups) intervene in the policy debate. Related case: the net neutrality debate in the US.
• Or research and discuss the ownership structure and market domination of a specific media, Internet, or telecom conglomerate, or explore the media oligopoly in a specific national economy. How does the specific conglomerate benefit from media concentration, horizontal/vertical integration, or cross media ownership while at the same time limit the public’s choices on information and drive up the service charge? Related cases: any media conglomerate such as Google Inc., Walt Disney, Amazon etc. or Canadian media/telecommunication oligopoly, Mexican media oligopoly etc.
• Advertising, Ideology and Capitalist Society: Choose at least 3 print or electronic form of advertisement. Undertake an analysis of the various representational elements in those advertisements. What are some of the ideologies and values which circulate in the ads, and which support and underwrite the interests of capitalist industries? Explore the role of advertising industry within the capitalist system and its relationship with the culture industry – how it fosters false consciousness, and contributes to the standardization of cultural life and consumers. (Do not take on the topics such as how does alcohol or tobacco advertisements affect on people’s consumption habits, the impact of the fast food commercials on child obesity, or the marketing strategies of Dove’s advertising campaign. Do not focus on the marketing effectiveness of advertising.)
Procedure: 1. Identify the topic: be specific, clear, and relevant to our course content. 2. Do the research 3. Develop research questions/arguments (in coherent logic) Academic research is about finding what the evidence suggests, even if it disagrees with your ‘gut feeling’ or anecdotal information. Even if you have remarkable insight concerning a topic it will not be worth much unless you can logically and persuasively support it in the body of your essay. 4. Have the title of your paper. The topic areas above ARE NOT THE PAPER TITLE. Final Essay Due: No later than Week 11 Worth: 25% Length: No less than 2000 words, 12pt font, double-spaced, not including cover
page and references. Papers must include a word count on the cover page. Format: Must be in APA style for citations and references. Sources/References: • You are required to apply the concept/theory/argument you learn from our class into
your paper. You must have a minimum of 5 academic sources, and at least 1 from course readings. You are not allowed to use Wikipedia as your sources.
• You may use non-academic sources (for example, corporate or organizational websites, newspapers, trade books) in supplementary research, but these do not count as your academic references. Non-academic or non-peer reviewed sources CANNOT be your primary resource. Media sources (newspaper articles, letters to the editor, TV clips, YouTube videos, radio broadcasts, podcasts, etc.) are strongly encouraged – in fact, I expect you to use them – and must be cited fully and correctly. For anything you access via the web, an access date must be provided.
Notes: • Do not wait to start your essay. Choose your topic early and stick with it. • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of your paper and all of your research
notes until the submission of the final grades to protect against misplacement of assignments.
• Late submission will receive a penalty of 1 % deduction per day, unless there is an emergency with documentation.
• If you wish to get back your term paper, remember to include a prepaid (postage $2) return envelope (with your mailing address on it) along with your paper submission.
• Any form of academic dishonesty will result in a zero mark on the assignment. • Unethical tutoring. It is NOT appropriate to hire a tutor to write your essay, prepare a
detailed outline or rewrite your work and hand you a finished product. Your tutor must not edit or craft your assignments. Instead, your tutor should teach you skills such as how to plan your paper, how to use sources appropriately to avoid plagiarism, and how to understand and apply the rules of grammar so that you can learn to identify errors in your own writing. The tutor can be a hired tutor, a friend, a relative etc. You MUST include the name and the contact method of the person that proofread your writing at the end of your paper (e.g., Teddy Bear, firstname.lastname@example.org / 778-782-xxxx, proofread my essay).
• I reserve the right to question you about your essays. You may be required to display, in my presence, the same level of writing that is in your paper by completing another small writing sample. Another writing sample can be obtained from your midterm exams for writing sample. If your essay is at a much higher standard than your writing sample, you will not be given a passing grade.