Chat with a Librarian
Skip to Main Content
ask a librarian email questions

ENG 100/RWR 100 - Mass Hysteria and the Media (Hamrick)

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

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

Q. How long is the paper? 

Your paper is a 5 paragraph traditional essay and should be a minimum of 2.5 pages.

  • Introduction--at least 8 sentences long
  • 3 Body Paragraphs--at least 12-15 sentences long
  • Conclusion--at least 8 sentences long

Q. How many sources?

You should use at least 2 outside sources. 

You can have no more than 2 direct quotes in your essay.

Q. What kind of sources?

Does your instructor specify certain types of sources? Are there other requirements such as how current/old the sources can be, or where the source should come from - the library, a database, a book/ebook, a peer-reviewed journals, etc.?

Q. How do you cite sources?

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?

What do you have to turn in? Is it just a paper?  Are there other pieces like a rough draft, outline, summary, reading response, a tutorial, etc.  Make note of all the parts of the assignment and create a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything out.

Q. When is it due?

How long do you have to work on this 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.

Q. What other requirements should you make note of? 

Are there requirements to include a certain number of quotes or paraphrases? Do you need to have a certain number of paragraphs? Do you need visuals/images? current statistics? Make note of any other requirements on the assignment sheet, and ask your instructor for clarification on any parts you're not sure about.

Selecting a Topic

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

Q. Do you have a choice?

How does media affect mass hysteria? Use 3 examples to prove your point.

  • Mass hysteria is a phenomenon that transmits collective illusions of threats, whether real or imaginary, through a population in society as a result of rumors and fear.
  • Do people literally worry themselves sick over getting sick?
  • Symptoms that were often ascribed to hysteria included:
    • Shortness of breath
    • Anxiety
    • Fainting
    • Nervousness
    • Insomnia
    • Irritability
    • Agitation
  • Shoppers are stockpiling everyday household items. Is this necessary?

Here are some videos about mass hysteria to help you get started.

Q. Do you have an interest?

Since you have a choice on what topic you can choose, consider which one you find the most interesting.  Which topic do you think would be the easiest to research? Which topic would you have the most to say about?

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.