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Does Facebook’s Newsfeed influence political opinion?

Does Facebook’s Newsfeed influence political opinion?
Order Description
Research Assignment (25%) Learning Outcomes
• Apply key concepts to contemporary communication and media issues and debate arguments that come from different perspectives.
• Conduct library research on issues of public importance and communicate ideas clearly and succinctly.
During the Winter Term, we examine a number of contemporary issues and controversies related to media and communication. Your weekly readings will take a point–counterpoint format, but real life is complex and there’s lots of space in between “yes” and “no.”
For this term’s major assignment, you will research ONE of the following three topics: 1. Does Facebook’s Newsfeed influence political opinion?
2. Are video games and gamer culture ‘toxic’?
3. Is American news bad for Canada?
You will develop your own position on this issue and argue for it in a persuasive essay based on the available evidence (that is, library research using scholarly sources).
The assignment has two components with different due dates, which will be graded separately: the annotated bibliography (10%), and the final research paper (15%).
Part 1: Annotated Bibliography (10%)
Due February 9, 2017 by 2 pm on cuLearn
(Late penalty of 5% per day starting on February 10 at 11pm)
An annotated bibliography is a document that lists a number of sources and provides an annotation for each. For this assignment, produce an annotated bibliography of six scholarly sources (books or book chapters published by a reputable academic press, or an article from a peer-reviewed scholarly journal). Four of your sources should support your position, and two
take a different position. Assigned course readings will not count towards this requirement. We will discuss how to locate and evaluate appropriate sources in the Jan. 12 lecture.
Each entry must include complete bibliographic information formatted using the Chicago Author–Date System. See CU Library advice for citation style: https://library.carleton.ca/research/course-guides/reli-2220/writing-citing
The Chicago Manual of Style: https://catalogue.library.carleton.ca/record=b2868056
The accompanying annotation should be 200–300 words long. Purdue University’s Annotated Bibliography guide defines an annotation as “a summary and/or evaluation” that summarizes the main points in the source, assesses its strengths and weaknesses, and reflects on how it might contribute to your research project. For example, see the following annotation:
Hunt, Arnold. 1997. “‘Moral Panic’ and Moral Language in the Media.” British Journal of Sociology 48 (4): 629–648.
In this article, the historian Arnold Hunt explains the development and spread of the concept of “moral panic” from criminologists and sociologists to the media. He outlines three different interpretations of what a moral panic is and how it works, which are closely related to one another but do not always agree, and gives examples of how mainstream media have used this idea over time. Hunt also notes some problems with theories of moral panic, including their “timelessness” and the fact that they do not necessarily reflect public opinion. He concludes by reflecting on the conceptual metaphor of moral panic and related terms and what it suggests about our understanding of moral deliberation. The article provides a good introduction to theories of moral panic and reminds us that ideas can mean different things in academic research than they do in everyday language. In fact, Hunt notes that conservative media sources developed a unique, positive theory of moral panic as a rational response to some issue. The article is only based on examples from the British press, but the theory of moral panic may have been accepted differently in other countries.
Annotated bibliographies will be graded on the selection and suitability of sources, completeness and correctness of the bibliographic information presented, and how well your annotations summarize, assess, and reflect on the sources you’ve chosen.
You will need to locate and read more than 6 sources in order to select 6 appropriate ones for inclusion in your annotated bibliography (and your eventual research paper). The sources included in your bibliography MUST be scholarly. Don’t simply search Google or look up your topic on Wikipedia (though this might be a way to get your research process started); use the library online catalogue and databases to search for books and journal articles.
Remember that your annotated bibliography is a tool for remembering what your research sources say about your topic. The more carefully you do this now, the easier writing your final paper will be.
Part Two: Research Paper (15%)
Due March 23 by 2 pm on cuLearn
(Late penalty of 5% per day starting on March 24 at 11pm)
In this 5-page paper (at least 1250 words and not more than 1500) you will clearly assert a position on the issue you have selected (your “thesis statement”), defend it using evidence from your research, and address at least one counterargument to your position.
This is a research paper, and you are expected to support your argument using scholarly and other high-quality evidence. All claims and concepts should be attributed to a source. At a minimum, you must make substantial and accurate use of three scholarly sources from your research in constructing your argument, though you may use different ones than in your annotated bibliography assignment if you wish. In some instances, you may supplement your three academic sources with credible and substantive news media such as the Globe and Mail, or The New York Times, or The Guardian UK, or from government sources or research companies.
You are also expected to address and refute a potential counterargument to your position at some point in your paper.
Cite all direct quotations and paraphrases of ideas drawn from your research using in-text citations (see Chicago Author-Date style). If you do not adequately cite your sources, you are committing plagiarism, a severe offence against academic integrity. At the end of your paper, include full bibliographic information for all sources that you actually cite in your paper (under the heading “Works Cited”).
Respect the page limit: 5 pages of discussion not including works cited at the end.
• Make sure that your position on the topic is clear and consistent throughout. You may
wish to frame your essay in response to a particular case or example, but ensure that
you address the broader, fundamental issues in contention as well.
• Think carefully about how you organize your paper: what does the reader need to know
about the topic? What order should the arguments come in?
• Remember to raise and refute a genuine counterargument to your position somewhere
in the paper.
• Ensure that you provide evidence to support all claims that you make: how can we know
what you are saying is true?
• Cite all of your sources!

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