(100 points; 10%)
Due: Thursday, November 15
This assignment asks you to write a 3- to 4-page paper that explains the theoretical/critical framework and methodological approach that you will use in your Research Paper. The goal is for you to develop a deeper understanding of the critical approach that you have chosen so that you can actually use it to guide your research and analysis. This assignment does not ask you to become a complete expert in these approaches, but it does require that you do your research, be thoughtful, provide specific details, and address possible objections to or weaknesses in your approach. As noted on the Overview, you must directly engage with one or more of the following critical approaches:
- ideological analysis
- critical race studies
- feminist media studies
- algorithmic media
- political economy
- participatory media
And, you should use one or more of the following methods to conduct research into the aspect of media that interests you and to analyze your object of study:
- semiotic analysis
- narrative analysis
- discourse analysis
- audience interviews
Your Theory Paper should do the following:
- Briefly explain your research question—i.e. exactly what do you want to find out about your topic?
- Explain your theoretical framework. That is, for the critical approach you have chosen:
- What are the starting assumptions about how media, society, individuals and the operation of individual or social power are related? What makes you think these assumptions are accurate?
- How are the text and its social context, or the text and its industrial context, connected? That is, what is the nature and extent of the influence that the text has on the context or vice versa? Or, is the connection between text and context not one of influence, but something else? This is where you will have to synthesize what different theorists have said about your approach and develop your own take that is best suited to your research project. For example, you might combine Foucault’s take on discourse analysis with Omi & Winant’s discussion of racial formations.
- Describe your methodological approach. That is, what information/data did you look for and how do you plan to analyze it? If you are using a combination of different methodologies, describe each of them and explain how they fit together in your project. (For example, you may use semiotic analysis to study the text and discourse analysis to study the social context.)
- Finally, and most importantly, explain how your choice of critical approach and of methodological approach will help you answer your research question and why you chose the theory and methodology that you have chosen.
** See the Final Project Overview for information on research resources, format, and academic integrity **