The Research Paper

SPRING | 2018


For this semester’s research, we’ll focus on issues related to issues covered in the subtitle to Kevin Young’s Bunk: hoaxes, humbug, plagiarists, phonies, post-facts, and fake news in our current digital media environment.

For this paper you should do the following things:

  • Try to relate your topic in some way to any of the things we’ve talked about so far in class, especially something you don’t feel is covered sufficiently by mainstream media. Think especially about what has connected most strongly to you personally. I strongly encourage you to go through Young’s Bunk and On the Media and look at the class’s posts for ideas, thinking specifically about, from Young’s subtitle, media hoaxes, plagiarists, phonies, post-facts, and fake news.
  • Explore through extensive research how your topic has been revealed or displayed through both mainstream and non-mainstream convergent media, making sure to thoroughly cover as many of the media forms as possible, i.e., print, audio, video, digital, and as many combinations thereof you can find.
  • Document all of your sources, including all links, in either MLA or Chicago Style.
  • Turn in your final draft in Print (paper) form, but have a digital copy prepared for possible archiving (I’ll explain this further in class).

Everyone in class will be responsible for both their individual research projects, which should be approximately 1,500-2,000 words, and a group assignment based on class discussions in April that finds some commonalities in the research each of you have done.


Thursday, 3/8 – Have your research topic approved by me.

Thursday, 3/29 – Have a working bibliography for your research paper prepared for class. You will sign up for a date in the three weeks afterward to give your critical background presentations for your research papers.

Monday, 4/2-Monday, 4/16 – Critical Background Presentations – for these you’ll present, in roughly 10-15 minutes, the background research you’re doing for your Research Paper and Semester Project. This should include examples of similar voices you’ve found, academic or popular analysis of the type of work you’re doing, and correspondence you’ve had with other people about the type of work you’re doing. We’ll talk more about this in class over the next few weeks, as you develop your respective Research Papers and Semester Projects.


Monday, 4/30 & Thursday, 5/3 – Class conversation and conceptualization of the collective element.