English 302/1C Research Position Paper (Media focus)

For this 7-8 page paper (2500 words), you will need to choose a problem or controversy relating to an issue about the media of interest to you (a topic not covered in this class), research the issue, and take a position about it. You will then need to argue your position in a clear convincing way. You will need to use evidence to support your claim, and you will need to address the views of the opposition.

TOPIC: While your topic needs to focus in some way on media in the US, I recommend that you choose an issue that you already have at least a little familiarity with so that you don’t waste time figuring out what the big issues are. You will need to choose something that is somewhat controversial, or at least something that people might be known to generally disagree about. For the sake of this class, media will include TV, radio, Internet, video Games, as well as traditional print – there is a list of potential topics to give you ideas. Your topic needs to be both controversial and related in some way to media. So make sure that your topic is something that has a point that you can argue to a generally well-informed audience who may or may not agree with your interpretation. This means that you need to anticipate any opposition to your position that may be out there and address it accordingly.

RESEARCH: Your main source will be the book we will read over the semester: Amusing Ourselves to Death, but you will need at least four additional cited sources in your paper. Books, scholarly journals, newspapers, interviews with authorities, field studies, reputable polls, etc. are all places you might look for information. (Avoid relying too heavily on lightweight, popular sources like Time or USA Today.) For this paper, at least two your sources needs to be a source that you did not find online (any source that was in print at one time counts as a non-online source), so you will need to spend some time in a library. You will need to follow the MLA citation style (see book), which we will discuss in detail in class. You will want to use research to support your position as well as to address the opposition. 

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