Research Paper: Instructions and Rubric
Relating to the university- There exist several purposes for the research paper assignment. One purpose is to meet the fourth goal of the university’s strategic plan. This goal reads: “Become more inclusive and diverse.” This assignment offers students the opportunity to become more aware of “diverse cultural, critical, and historical perspectives”.
Relating to the program-This assignment also offers the opportunity for each student to identify, understand, and value cultural traditions (Program Outcome 3).
Relating to the course-The purpose of the research paper assignment is to offer students the opportunity explore the issues of race or gender as they are presented and re-presented in American media, particularly in film. Through this research and writing assignment, students meet the following course learning outcomes:
Explain and employ cultural studies theories and methods
Develop and practice visual literacy.
Question and conceptualize the American cultural identity.
Critique the relationship between American media and patterns of consumption
DESCRIPTION OF REQUIREMENTS:
Papers must reflect comprehension of critical concepts and ideas introduced this semester, as well as relevant insight or analysis you might provide supported by evidence from scholarly sources and considered refutation of the material in the readings. In other words, each student’s work ought to reflect an understanding or critical race, feminist, and/or cultural studies theory. In addition, students are expected to integrate other scholarly sources, offer an analysis of the primary source, and include at least one alternative perspective on the media studied. Students will investigate and analyze one multicultural issue or subjectivity position (i.e. race or gender, through the lens of one American film. Do not attempt to focus on more than one perspective. Students will use a minimum of five scenes from this one American film and use ideas, concepts, theories etc. from 10 sources (see below). Consider whether the film conforms to or contradicts ideologies of race or gender.
This paper will comprise a minimum of 2500 words (excluding quotes and formatting), will include a works cited, will include a thesis that directly addresses the multicultural issue and film, and will include the student’s position on this issue and/or representation. In other words, you must have something to say about the representation of _race or gender within __insert name of film__. Why does this film matter? How does it shape the American cultural identity?
This is NOT a movie review, opinion piece or a plot summary. This is a formal textual analysis of your chosen film. It may include an analysis of the political economy of the filmmakers’ creation, marketing and distribution and/or the audience reception as it relates to the formal textual analysis. The crux of your analysis must be a formal textual analysis. A genre analysis may be an appropriate component of your analysis. Determine if this is crucial to your intended argument. A genre analysis should be a tangential component of your analysis should you implement this into your paper. You should offer a counter-argument/alternative perspective within your paper. Offering a considered refutation of your argument contributes to constructing a persuasive argument.
This paper must include a works cited page with a minimum of 10 citations (4 from our course materials, 1 is the film, and 5 of your choice- 2 of this 5 must be scholarly sources). You may use the chapters relating to film history offered as a part of our course materials, but this type of source should only be used in the most peripheral manner.
Refer to the “Writing Resources” section in webcourses for helpful writing advice.
I strongly recommend that you attempt to use the language of film studies within your paper. In other words, try to use film terms to describe your chosen scenes and then analyze the meaning of the scene in support of your thesis statement.
Carefully choose and watch your film. Begin to decide which issue(s) (race or gender) you think will make the best paper and/or which you want to discuss. The best papers have a narrow focus. Choose only one issue to investigate. Pinpoint why this might be important.
Identify whether you want to add a discussion of the political economy or audience reception to your formal textual analysis of the film. Determine if adding genre analysis is appropriate or crucial to your intended argument. Keep these things in mind when preparing for and conducting your research.
Research and compile your sources. Determine which articles in our course materials (minimum of four) you wish to use to support your argument (agreeing or disagreeing with the author’s main points). Choose the best articles to support your thesis. If you choose to write about race in ____ film, I expect to see you use the articles that specifically discuss race. Find and plan to integrate at least five other scholarly articles. Two of these five must be scholarly sources and the other three can be commercial or noncommercial sources. Conduct research to find the evidence that will support your argument or form your argument from the sources you compile through your research.
Select a minimum of five scenes from your film and begin to develop your argument. You can discuss more scenes, but I discourage everyone from constructing a paper that exceeds eight scenes.
Remain flexible. This is not your life’s work. You may change your mind about what you thought about the film. This is okay. There will come a time in the term, however, when you have to stick to one argument and complete the paper.
Construct an Outline and Thesis Statement. (This is a part of the prospectus assignments) Remember to incorporate four articles from our course materials. The ideas of the article should be synthesized into a flowing and persuasive argument.
Write the paper. Proofread it carefully. Cite appropriately. Check the Paper Requirements and Check List for additional information. I recommend scheduling an appointment with UCF Writing Center. I also recommend reviewing and rewriting your thesis statement –Ensure your thesis statement clearly outlines what you accomplished within the body of your paper.
Upload your paper on time to the designated assignment link in the assignments in webcourses. (Reduce stress–avoid waiting until the final moments before a deadline to submit your paper).
Did I include a thesis that addressed the multicultural perspective, the film, and my position about the significance of the representation within the film I studied?
Does each paragraph contain a single idea or piece of evidence and begins with a clear topic sentence?
Did I integrate ten sources and use proper citations?
Did I include a properly formatted works cited? Did I alphabetize this page?
Did I include five scenes from the film?
Did I approach this paper from a scholarly perspective? This is not an opinion paper. You must back up your claims with evidence. Also, this is not a plot summary paper. Make sure you assumed your reader has seen the film.
Did I use correct grammar, spell check, edit, proof, and had someone else read it?
Did I properly format my paper? I.e. Did I consistently use MLA format?
Did I meet the minimum word count excluding quotes and formatting?
SUPPORTING EVIDENCE/WORKS CITED: DON’TS
DO NOT provide extensive plot summary. I am familiar with all approved films and points will be deducted for overly summarizing the film. Focus on synthesis of ideas and concepts presented in this course.
Your final paper should not be confused with a report or a movie review. In a report you present material and discuss it briefly. Movie reviews summarize the plot and sometimes contextualize to recommend (or not) specific films to unfamiliar viewers. In a critical essay, you should assume your audience (e.g., academics, your instructor) is familiar with the film you must analyze material, reach conclusions, and support your claims with evidence from the course readings.
FORMATTING/MLA STYLE: DO’S
One-inch margins. Do not use larger or smaller margins.
Arial or Times New Roman, 12-point font.
Word Count Requirement: 2500 words (NOT including direct quotes or works cited)
Avoid using quotes longer than 4 sentences. Instead of using an entire paragraph incorporate sentence length (or shorter) quotes into the text of your essay (this method facilitates analysis).
Proofread your work carefully. Read it aloud.
Check your grammar. You are also responsible for grammatical errors. Poor grammar weakens your message. Some common errors include: subject-verb agreement, incorrect use of irregular verbs, and run-on sentences.
Rely on your own ability to spell check. Spell check functions in word processing software programs cannot distinguish between homonyms like “here” and “hear.”
Avoid passive voice. Use active verbs. Stay in the present tense.
Do not use contractions. For example, instead of writing “don’t” write out the words “do not.”
Avoid colloquialisms and conversational tone. Do not use slang, clichés and profanity in your papers unless you are using a direct quote from a film or research source.
Do not plagiarize the work of others. Turnitin documents instances of copied work. Failure to cite borrowed material is considered plagiarism. It is a serious academic offense and is not worth jeopardizing your future. When in doubt, ask me or library staff. Also, consult the resources on the Owl website or the MLA Manual of Style, as well as the UCF Golden Rule policy to make sure you maintain academic integrity.
60% Development/Coherence: Thesis Statement/Paragraphs with topic sentences/Funnel introduction – intro, body, conclusion, quotes from text, relation to film, appropriate detail
20% Sentence-Style/Variety: NO second person (you), complete sentences, concrete words, active voice, pronoun-antecedent agreement, and effective transitions
20% Grammar/Mechanics: Conventions (italicize film title)/Mechanics – maintain present tense/Correct Punctuation, Spelling, Citations (parenthetical & Works Cited), use characters’ names not actors.
Development/Coherence (60 points)
Point value Description
10 Fulfills all assignment instructions. (Clearly completes a textual analysis of the representation of race or gender within an American film. Uses five scenes from the film, integrates 10 sources and uses cultural theory applicable to representations studied, provides and clearly identifies multiple perspectives or at least one counter argument. Suggests significance or implications of conclusions.
10 Argument is logically organized. Each paragraph contains a separate idea and begins with a topic sentence. Follows funnel introduction structure – intro, body, conclusion, quotes from text, relation to film, appropriate detail.
10 All details are correct and support argument. Plot summary, if any, supports the argument directly. Multicultural aspect is used correctly and defined correctly. No broad generalizations are made. Provides specific scenes from the film to support/defend the argument.
10 Competent analysis of the film. Draws conclusions from five scenes and the overall film. Addresses technical, emotional, and aesthetic representation of multicultural issue. Considers social implications.
10 Thesis is clearly stated at the end of the opening paragraph and asserts an arguable claim.
10 Effective transitions are used throughout. Ideas flow smoothly.
Sentence-Style/Variety (20 points)
Point value Description
10 Consistently uses complete sentences, concrete words, active voice, pronoun-antecedent agreement, transitions, and correct word usage.
5 Uses third person, NO second person (you), NO first person (I, we, us)
5 Consistently maintains academic/formal tone. No instances of conversational tone (NO colloquialisms or clichés).
Grammar/Mechanics (20 points)
Point value Description
5 Virtually free of punctuation, spelling, or grammatical oversights.
5 Film titles are italicized. Maintains present tense. Uses characters’ names, not actors. No contractions.
5 All sources are fully integrated. All citations are correct (parenthetical/in-text and Works Cited page). Citations are fully integrated (no floating or standalone quotes). *Minimum deduction for each non-integrated source is five points.
5 Consistent standardized formatting throughout (e.g., MLA). Includes appropriate heading, page numbers, and title.
You may not earn higher than a C- for a paper that lacks the incorporation of at least 10 sources as describe above, lacks a clear thesis statement and/or does not meet the minimum word count. The word count requirement is 2500 words of original writing.
The minimum word count EXCLUDES the works cited, direct quotes, and/or headers. PARAPHRASE instead of quote.
Automatic Point Deductions
MISSING TITLE –minimum 5point
INTEGRATION –minimum 5 point per non-integrated (“standalone”) quote—make sure cited material is appropriately integrated and relevant to the point you are trying to make! Strengthen your point by paraphrasing (in your own words, explain the author’s central argument) writing the author’s argument or point in your own words)
WORKS CITED –minimum 10 points for missing works cited page—make sure to cite each article individually, see Works Cited Example in Bb.
WORD COUNT –minimum 10 point
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