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ENG 101 - Pop Culture Analysis (Garber/Lawrence/Suber)

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

Before you begin work on your research paper, examine the assignment closely for any requirements. 

Q. How long is the paper? 

The paper must be 4-5 pages long, not including the Works Cited page. 

Q. How many sources?

You will need to incorporate at least 4-5 outside sources.

Q. What kind of sources?

Your sources need to be authoritative and credible. Use library resources to find reliable sources. 

Q. How do you cite sources?

You will use MLA format for your citations. You may want to remind yourself what information you need to create the MLA Works Cited page and in-text citations.

Q. What is due?

A paper and an Annotated Bibliography(Garber only) is due. Check your assignment, which includes a rubric for both the annotated bibliography and final paper.  Make note of all the parts of the assignment and create a checklist to make sure you don't forget any part.

Q. When is it due?

How long do you have to work on this paper or project? Is there one due date for everything or are there multiple due dates for different parts of the assignment?  Plan out your time, so you don't get stuck doing all the work at the last minute. Plan extra time in case you have problems or get stuck.

Selecting a Topic

The first thing you need to do before you begin a research paper is to select a topic that you're going to write about. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice?

You will be examining popular culture. You are encouraged to choose a topic that is not only of interest to you but also closer to your life out of the classroom. You may choose from the following research questions:

  • Are pop culture artists ethically and morally responsible for the content of their work?
  • Many people so fascinated, some even obsessed, with famous people? How does celebrity worship affect society?
  • How can pop culture be an instrument for social change?

Q. Do you have an interest?

What aspects of popular culture do you find most interesting?  Which topic do you think would be the easiest to write about? Which topic would you have the most to say about? The most common popular culture categories are: entertainment (movies, music, t.v.), sports, news (as in people/places in news), politics, fashion/clothes and technology. You may think of other categories.

Q. Are there sources?

Before you totally commit to a topic, you'll want to make sure that there are enough outside sources on the topic for your assignment. Not every topic is going to have information written about it. Newer topics or topics that aren't as well known may be harder to find sources for.  Do some searching in the library's databases to make sure there are sources, and Ask-A-Librarian to double-check if you're not sure there are enough sources for a topic you're really interested in.