Assessment Guide – Research Essay
Due: Friday Week 12, submit on Moodle
Length: 2000 words
Write an essay responding to one of the following questions/topics:
- Select a recent advertising campaign (it may be located across several media and it may be a commercial campaign or a government/community/health campaign) to critically analyse in relation to the socio-cultural construction of gender and/or sexuality. Using the critical frameworks you have developed this semester, deconstruct the campaign through a close semiotic analysis. Develop a position on how gender and/or sexuality are constructed in the campaign through visual and textual signifiers.
- Can we say that men are now ‘objectified’ in visual culture in the same way as women? Develop an argument as to why the social consequences of
‘objectifying’ images might be different, or that they should be understood as the same, for men and women. Your argument should address why and how the social context of ‘postfeminism’ (Gill, 2007) affects our understandings of images. You can choose from a wide range of media texts as case studies to substantiate your argument.
- Do social media platforms help or hinder efforts to make society a more just and equal place when it comes to gender and sexuality? With a focus on non- dominant people, develop a position on this question, comparing and contrasting two or more examples as case studies. You could consider social media like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, or groups, hashtags, subreddits/threads within wider platforms. You could also consider virtual worlds like MMORPGs, MUDs, or MOBAs. As an example, case studies might include the #MeToo movement, the #ItGetsBetter campaign, or #Gamergate. Your research and analysis may be centered on issues of empowerment, self-sexualisation, and agency, or efforts against sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and anti-racism in digital spaces.
- Open topic – if you wish to write about a different topic that is related to and embedded into the themes and issues covered in the unit, please consult your tutor.
Regardless of which option you choose to respond to, each essay must include the following:
- Clear evidence of research beyond the required unit readings. All essays are required to include at least 8 academic sources to pass with at least 5 of those being additional academic sources beyond the set weekly readings. Ideally, most essays should include 8-10 sources (or more), which will include a combination of required readings and at least 5 additional peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly book chapters or scholarly books. Consult the guide on Moodle and/or your tutors for advice on identifying and evaluating an academic source. A list of recommended readings is provided on Moodle for each essay question/topic, and these do not count as weekly required readings.
- The use of media text case studies. This may include images, stills from videos, lyrics, transcripts from interviews, etc. These should be properly referenced according to the style guide you are using and can be embedded in-text. However, these sources do not count towards your minimum number of 8 academic sources.
- A clear, coherent argument developed logically over the course of your essay. The argument should be identified and sign-posted in the introduction, and built upon drawing on your research, in each subsequent paragraph. The conclusion should neatly summarise the evidence you have gathered and reiterate your argument.
- Clear expression. Try to write in short, sharp, to-the-point sentences and be sure to leave ample time before the due date for proof reading and editing. Read your writing out to yourself to help identify inconsistencies or awkward expressions.
- Proper referencing. Undergraduate writing is about ‘building on the shoulders of giants’ and synthesising ideas and existing research, potentially into new but well- founded forms. You can use APA, ASA, or Harvard referencing, as long as you are consistent and use an in-text author-date system with a complete list of references at the end of your essay. Only include references in your list of references that have been cited in the text.
Learning objectives assessed: Learning objectives 1, 2, 3 and 5 are being developed and assessed here.
Marking Rubric – Research Essay
|Needs improvement||Adequate||Good||Very Good||Outstanding|
|Answers the||More focus needed on||There is a discernible central||A clear central argument||There is a sustained and||There is a nuanced,|
|question/responds||question/topic, and/or the||argument that is developed||emerges through the essay in||well-integrated argument in||compelling, and well-|
|to the topic (20%)||central argument is absent or||throughout the essay in||response to the||response to the||evidenced argument|
|unclear.||response to the||question/topic.||question/topic, that is||developed throughout the|
|question/topic.||thoughtfully developed||essay in response to the|
|drawing on a compelling||question/topic.|
|evidence base throughout.|
|Research: Quality,||Few and inappropriate||Some appropriate use of||Uses a good range of source||Uses a wide and diverse||Excellent choice of research|
|breadth (20%)||research sources used,||research, meeting the||material; some additional or||range of relevant theoretical||material and use of extensive|
|included unsubstantiated||minimum requirements, but||more appropriate sources||and empirical material;||additional sources;|
|claims and assertions.||the quality and||would strengthen argument.||demonstrating a very good||demonstrating outstanding|
|appropriateness of sources||Some evidence of||research process and||research process and|
|could be improved.||independent research skills.||independent research skills.||independent research skills.|
|Research:||Understanding is confused or||Describes relevant||Clear demonstrated||Very good demonstrated||Excellent demonstrated|
|Application,||unclear. Inaccurate||concepts/theories/data, but||understanding of||understanding and||understanding and|
|understanding||discussion of key||understanding not always||concepts/theories/data;||application of||application of|
|(40%)||concepts/theory/empirical||clear. Some attempt to link||theory and research is clearly||concepts/theories/data;||theory/concepts/data to|
|data. No real links between||theory, research and topic||linked and analysed in||theory and research re||topic. Discusses theory and|
|theory, research and issue.||but not always clear.||relation to topic; effective||clearly linked with topic, also||research in a critical manner,|
|paraphrasing and selective||displaying critical insight||clearly demonstrating a|
|use of quotes where||into how the research fits||nuanced and critical|
|appropriate.||together.||overview of the research|
|used in the essay.|
|Technical||Poor or unclear structure,||Basic structure, some errors||Good structure, expression is||Clear and well structured;||Excellent structure and flow;|
|construction:||and/or errors in expression,||in expression, references, list||clear, referencing is mostly||referencing free of errors;||referencing is free of errors;|
|Expression,||and/or errors in||of references.||correct.||expression effective and||argument clear; the writing is|
|structure,||referencing/list of references.||concise.||nuanced and persuasive.|
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