Television and Radio Criticism

Final Project Assignment: Proposal

TVRA 4430W, Fall 2018                                        

(100 points; 10%)

Due: Thursday, November 1
First, please do look at the overall description of the Final Project assignment already given to you. In particular, please keep in mind that the core of the Final Project is your analysis of a media text of your choice in relation to either its social context or its industrial context. The goal of this assignment is to practice using key critical approaches and methods developed for media studies in order to develop a degree of mastery in one or more of these approaches and methods. See the overall description for a list of these approaches and methods that you can use. Finally, please remember that your Final Project has two parts: A 7-9 page Research Paper and a Creative Project.
The Proposal is essential to a successful Final Project. A proposal is, emphatically, not a wish list of things you will find out. It is a concrete action plan. It is intended to make you think in detail about what you are writing about, how you will your conduct research, how you will analyze your findings, and how you will express your argument in a creative manner as well as in a formal research paper. That is, your proposal lays out exactly what you will do as you actually carry out your Final Project. Therefore, it is—naturally—based on substantial research on your topic and thus builds on the research you did for your One-Pager Research Question. An effective proposal is one that lays out your action plan in such precise detail that you could hand it off to someone else and they would be able to carry out your research project. So, one way of thinking about the proposal is as a set of instructions. The proposal will be as long as it needs to be, but you should be able to answer the questions below in no more than 4 pages [excluding the bibliography]. Keeping the above in mind, your Proposal should do the following:
Your research must draw upon popular (newspapers, magazines, popular books), trade (specialized publications such as Broadcasting & Cable, Variety, Mediaweek, Advertising Age, Adweek, Electronic Media, and Hollywood Reporter), and scholarly (academic journals and monographs) sources. You must also use both primary and secondary sources in doing your research. Primary sources are popular or trade articles on your topic that are from the same time period. For example, if you are writing about the sitcom All in the Family, your primary sources will be from the 1970s. Secondary sources are scholarly articles (they may also sometimes be popular or trade articles) that are written later about a particular topic and provide a history, analysis, or other kind of reflection on that topic.
A number of excellent online databases that you can use to do your research are listed under “TV & Radio” on the Brooklyn College Library’s “Research guides” page.
LexisNexis (for newspapers and magazines), Communication and Mass Media Complete (for scholarly sources), and Academic Search Complete are probably the three most useful databases. I would also strongly encourage you to browse through the stacks—you often come across useful material that you didn’t know you were looking for—and to draw upon the knowledge of the reference librarians.
Using web sources
An internet search—of Wikipedia for example—is a fine place to start your search. However, I expect you to use only reliable and verified sources for any factual information that you use in your paper. Google Scholar is another excellent resource for getting a quick sense of academic writing on a topic. However, Google Scholar is not comprehensive, does not provide full text for most essays, and does not distinguish between academic essays published in reliable journals and commercial writing or student papers. Popular television criticism and commentary has increasingly moved from print to online publications. Online publications and blogs such as Salon, HuffingtonPost, Jezebel, Vulture, Colorlines, and The Root frequently feature writing on television that is both well-informed and influential. In addition, websites such as,, and all provide industry news that is reliable. I encourage you to visit these sites and to look to academic blogs (see our course website for a list) as you conduct research for your paper. However (cautionary note ahead), unlike print publications, there is no easy rule for assessing the reliability, significance, or quality of online sources. Therefore, you must be especially mindful of how you treat online sources and we will further discuss how to evaluate these sources in class. Finally, you are expected to do the bulk of your research using the library databases. A web search complements library research; it cannot replace library research.
For all assignments:  Please write your name, the name of the course, the title of your paper, and the date at the top of the first page. Going a line or two over or under the specified length is fine. Use a 12-point font with standard (1-inch) margins and double-space the text. Remember to number your pages and to STAPLE your paper. Bibliographies do not count towards page length.
Always cite the source for any quotes or ideas taken from your readings. Use APA style for citations and for your bibliography. See the Online Writing Lab (linked from the website) for guidelines on how to cite any kind of source material (e.g. an article from a journal, an episode of a television series, a chapter in a book etc.).
Proofread your paper. Numerous typos or grammatical errors will result in a lower grade.
All components of this final paper assignment will be marked down by one grade (e.g. from B+ to B) for each day they are late. Remember, you can revise any assignment that you hand in on time.
** Keep all the graded copies of your assignments (topic ideas, one-pager, proposal, theory paper etc.) with my comments on them. You will be required to hand them in with each successive assignment. **
Review the information about academic dishonesty outlined on your syllabus. Do not cut and paste sections (no matter how brief) of other published or unpublished sources or papers. Do not turn in another person’s work as your own. Do not falsify sources or citations.  Any assignment that does of any of the above, or otherwise violates the University’s guidelines about academic misconduct will receive a failing grade, with no possibility of makeup.  In addition, further action may be taken at the College level.
Assessment Rubric for the Proposal
Proposal – Grading (50 points; 5%)
Introduce your topic:
  • What is the subject or topic of your research project? What do you wish to learn about this subject?
  • Why?
  • What larger question motivates your specific research question?
Background information:
  • The most important aspects of your research topic. History
  • Development
  • Key issues
  • Why your topic matters
Critical Approach
  • What are the main theories and concepts that inform your research?
  • How exactly have you drawn on these to create your own theoretical framework?
  • Why did you choose these approaches rather than any others?
  • What are some limitations of these theories?
  • Did you draw on the key scholarly works that lay out your core theories and concepts?
Research question and thesis
  • Focused RQ that is precise in identifying the text and the context
  • A thesis that follows the correct format and is a direct answer to the RQ
Research Plan
  • How exactly will you gather the sources you need to answer your research question?
  • What are the specific databased and publications you will use?
  • What are the exact boundaries of your “media text”?
  • How will you gain access to your text?
Creative Project
  • Precise statement of purpose?
  • Precise description of format?
  • Precise explanation of how it complements your Research Paper
  • 10 credible sources?
  • 5 scholarly sources?
  • Key theoretical sources?
  • Adequate popular or trade sources?

This page has paths:

This page has tags: