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Journalism, mass media and communication

Journalism, mass media and communication
Project description
• Determine whether the reading presents original research findings or simply serves as an “essay” integrating and summarizing the work of others. This will affect what you need to cover. If describing an essay/literature review, you should describe each of the main arguments presented by the author and explain the type of evidence used to support each, giving illustrative examples.
• If the reading presents original research, it will follow a particular format that your own summary should reflect. You should be sure to include the following:
o A concise explanation of the main theory or theories presented. This should not take up a substantial portion of your summary, but you should give a sense of the main premises under which the paper is operating.
o A concise description of the main hypotheses or predictions and the rationale that supports them. Ideally, this will be integrated with the previous point. Avoid simply quoting the hypotheses; it’s better to paraphrase the idea of the prediction and to connect that to the reasoning of the authors. Merely quoting hypotheses does not show you have understood the article.
o A brief summary of the main methodology. Typically, this would include
• The type of study — for example, was it a telephone survey? A laboratory experiment? A content analysis?
• The individuals studied (this may not be people, in the case of content analysis)
• The sorts of measures used, particularly where they are complex or critical to the overall research design (for example, if they compared men and women, the measure of gender isn’t especially interesting; if they evaluated learning from media and used two distinct approaches to measuring knowledge, you should briefly explain both)
• Any unusual or otherwise important aspects of the methodology
o An explanation of the pattern of findings. As with the hypotheses, this should not simply be a checklist — H1 was supported, H2 was not, etc. — but rather a plain English statement of what the results mean. If the authors found that the more people read the newspaper, the more they volunteer for charity, say that — don’t just tell us “H2 was supported because the correlation was positive.” Your goal is to show that you understand what underlying pattern of behaviors and attitudes was found and what it means.
o A brief acknowledgment of the implications of the findings, as suggested by the authors. How do these results support the theories described earlier (or force a reevaluation of those theories)? Are there any practical implications we should be aware of?
The summary should be typed and double-spaced, but there are no hard and fast length requirements. I would suggest that even a simple article would be hard to summarize in less than a page, and summaries that are markedly inefficient or that focus too much on unimportant details might not receive full credit. (In other words, don’t write 5 pages in the hope that somewhere within them is a good summary. Trim that material down to 2 or maybe 3 pages that really focus on the key aspects of the reading.)
Remember that all summaries must be submitted to the appropriate ANGEL drop box no later than one week from the day of the assigned reading. This date is exact — summaries must be in by the scheduled time for the start of class (even on ANGEL days or when summarizing ANGEL day readings). Remember too that you must provide an explanation for your absence via e-mail in order for a summary to count as replacing your quiz and excusing your absence – don’t just submit a summary to the drop box without communicating with me first.
An important note on academic integrity. As with all work in this class, the language used in this summary must be your own, and quoted material from the article must be properly cited and placed in quotation marks. Failure to do so will result in an automatic 0 for the summary that will replace any quiz score, and may result in further steps, including filing the appropriate paperwork and receiving a failing grade for the course.
Summaries are graded on a 1-point scale, as described below, with scores between two values possible but uncommon – please note that summaries scoring less than a .75 will not excuse an absence, but may be revised to address the shortcomings, resulting in an excused absence but not a changed score:
1 — Summary provides a complete and accurate description of the main elements of the article, including the critical components listed above (as applicable).
.9 — Summary provides a largely complete and accurate description of the main elements of the article. The overall idea of the research is included and correctly explained, but a few smaller elements of the research design or argument may be omitted or incorrectly described.
.8 — Summary includes a correct description of the critical elements of the article, but omits or incorrectly explains potentially important components of the argument or research design.
.7 — Summary touches on some of the critical ideas of the article, but omits or incorrectly describes many of the core components of the argument or research design.
.6 — Summary touches on some elements of the article, but does not address the core components of the argument or research design or fundamentally misrepresents these components.
.25 — Summary addresses only minor aspects of the article and does not serve as a meaningful attempt to explain what the article actually addressed.

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