In a research journal in our field, find an article that reports the results of an audience [or user] study: an experiment, survey, focus group, ethnographic methods, etc., but NOT content analysis, and NOT a survey/interviews of media professionals. Be careful NOT to choose an article that only reviews several studies on one topic and doesn’t conduct a study of its own, or that merely discusses a particular theory over time. That kind of article is beyond the scope of this assignment. Do not use a conference paper, nor an undergraduate paper, even if it was published in a journal of undergraduate research.
Your job is to summarize the research problem, question, or hypothesis; summarize the research method; summarize the findings (results); and summarize the conclusion/discussion. You’ll probably mention any relevant background information that was provided (For example, are the authors attempting to replicate previous findings of their own or others’? Are the authors trying to add to our understanding of a phenomenon that has been explained in other ways? –Mention what theory they’re using). You may want to critique the method or conclusion (by compliment or criticism), based on issues we have discussed this semester.
You will notice that each article is prefaced by a mini-abstract, but yours will be approximately 3 typed, double-spaced pages in length. Do not plagiarize the miniabstract, which is there to help you determine if you are interested in the topic and the findings. Read the article all the way through first; do not start writing as you’re reading—you will get bogged down in background or minor details before you even get to the gist of the article. (Some of you will ignore that advice and it will be obvious.) Try to write an outline after the first reading. In general, you must find an article that you understand! Some of the details, such as certain statistical analyses (regression, chisquare χ2 correlation r, etc.) will not be comprehensible to you, and that’s okay. Focus on the clear statements. The articles have been subject to scholarly review and edited; to some extent you can assume that the math has been vetted and the science is “good.”
Send me a full-text article by the due date of selecting your study (Sept. 8), or, if you are using an article that was only available on the library shelf, attach a photocopy of that article to your assignment when you hand it in on Tues. Sept. 20. Do not send me a link to some database; it’s not my job to log in and go read your article. Download the pdf or Word document or whatever it is.
To earn an A:
• Report is typed, double line-spacing, with no extra spacing for change-ofparagraph. Use one-inch margins all around. (Learn how to change your document margins, probably under your ‘Format’ menu.) The exception is block-text
quotations (quotations exceeding 39 words), which should be single-spaced and indented on both ends.
• Use 12-point Times New Roman or similar Times font that averages 14 characters per inch, not (for example) Courier or Arial. • Cover page is unnecessary and not included in your page count.
• Provide a complete, accurate citation of the article (in APA style) at the top of the first page, along with your own name. This includes information such as Author(s), Year, Title of Article, Title of Journal, Volume and Page Numbers. APA style does not capitalize every word in the title of an article, despite what some databases export as alleged APA style.
• Touch on the main points. Obviously this is a judgment call, but the mini-abstract may hold the clues. . . .
• Accurately convey the “facts” that you do decide to include, such as the size and nature of the sample, the hypotheses, some of the results, etc. Sometimes there’s too many hypotheses; just include a few.
• Do not confuse the authors’ review of previous research/theory with their own findings, conclusions, or original contributions to the problem. Their “literature review” is not a report of their current study’s findings.
• Define any terms that are central to the problem/question. For example, in a study of self-identified “TV addicts,” the author had to establish the key concepts he was measuring (such as “divided attention,” “dysphoric moods,” and “interactive media”).
• Attach a copy of the article if you did not use an electronic article that was previously forwarded to me.
• Do not plagiarize (in this case, copying text without quotation marks). For this assignment, you don’t have to continually cite the source for facts and ideas that you’ve paraphrased—because we know you’re summarizing this particular article; you’ve said so in your introduction somehow (and in the heading)—but do use page numbers if making a direct quotation with quote marks.
• Do not let textual excerpts (quotations) take over your paper. Direct quotation should not exceed one-third of the total length of your paper. (After all, I can read the article myself. The point is to demonstrate that you understand it, not that you can pull quotes.)
–Please refer to the example of a completed student mini-paper in Blackboard.–