Theoretical Assessment: Essay

Theoretical Assessment: Essay

The theoretical essay is a 2000-word (absolute maximum wordcount is 2,200) persuasive essay (explained further below) that addresses a cultural effect(s) of digital marketing practices.

The reference list and appendices are not included in the word count, but please note appendices are not marked and should be included at your discretion for further information only. You may include relevant figures/tables/images in your essay (not counted in the wordcount), referenced within the text.

The essay topics are listed below. Alternatively, you can propose your own topic by emailing Dr Aliette Lambert for approval no later than 16 April 2021. Please note if you write on a topic that has not received approval via email 10 points will be automatically deducted from your overall mark. Furthermore:

  • Coursework submitted after the deadline without prior approval will receive a maximum mark of 40%. Coursework that is handed in five days or more after the deadline and without approval will receive a mark of zero.
  • Please declare your word count on the cover page when you submit on Moodle. If you are over the word count, the marker will stop reading at 2,200 words.
  • Please use APA or Harvard style referencing for your in-text citations and works cited list. Guidance on writing style, plagiarism, referencing and the like is available on Moodle.
  • You may use any readable font, but a recommendation is to stick to standard fonts such as Times for the body and Arial for headings. Use 12 points font size for the body.
  • You are encouraged to write in the first person (I, me, my) given that this essay is predicated upon critical reflection interwoven with academic evidence (discussed below).
  • Engagement with course readings and academic literature is essential. A minimum of 8 academic references should be cited. There is no “maximum” per se, but do not reference for the sake of referencing: ensure that you have thoroughly engaged with and understand what you are referencing, and the value of referencing in the context.
  • Plagiarism is not tolerated. If your Turn-it-in score shows a substantial match between your paper and academic or internet sources that are not referenced or directly quoted, or essays submitted to this or other universities, you will automatically be reported. You will also be reported if there is any indication your essay has not been written by you.

About writing a persuasive essay

In this essay, that can be structured like an op-ed article (though arguments and points must be justified and evidenced using academic theory and literature), you must make a point and convince the reader using logical argumentation that addresses both sides of the argument and different perspectives. Crafting a thesis statement, or a succinct sentence that captures

the crux of your argument as well as, perhaps, highlighting how the essay will be organized, would be useful to that end.

Effective persuasive writing requires a thorough understanding of the topic at hand that considers and reflects upon divergent perspectives and positions. A solid grasp of academic theory and literature underpinning the topic and related arguments is essential, as is personal, critical reflection that takes into account the reasons and impetus for your resultant argument. As such, personal reflection may be a good place to start and may be interwoven into your essay. Critical reflection, particularly taking a ‘devil’s advocate’ position to consider the other point(s) of view that are contrary to your own will strengthen the efficacy of the argument presented.

In preparing to write your essay, I recommend the following: reading academic literature and exploring academic theory related to the topic to build an evidence base; engaging in personal reflection on the topic (what do you feel and think about the topic and why? What are your personal experiences related to the topic?); and engaging in critical reflection on the topic (what do others think about the topic who would disagree with your position? Can you empathize with this? Why or why not?) that may also involve looking at the broader social opinion (e.g., blogs, newspapers, media) to see what the general public thinks/feels about the topic. An effective persuasive essay would take all three of these steps into account and interweave evidence from these artfully in arguing for a certain position. A superior essay will harness Critical thought (as discussed in Lecture 2) and creatively interweave academic theory in crafting an argument.

A marking scheme is provided below. Resources on writing persuasively can be found on Moodle.

Potential essay topics

  1. Critically reflect on the following statement: The Internet is capitalistic in character.
  2. Critically discuss the impact of e-marketing on the climate, highlighting potential ‘solutions’, if any.
  3. During Covid-19, digital technologies such as Zoom have ‘saved’ social interaction. Critically discuss the implications including the (potential) role of digital marketing.
  4. In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg remarked: ‘People have really become comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time’. Critically discuss this statement.
  5. PewDiePie is the arguably the most famous YouTuber for his inane videos of gaming and other everyday mundanities that attract millions of viewers. He makes approximately USD$6 million a month from merchandise sales. What are the implications of PewDiePie’s influence on a generation, and the capital logic underpinning his position?
  6. Is addiction to smartphones and/or digital technologies a concern or an over-reaction? Critically discuss.
  7. How has e-marketing changed the way we engage with ourselves and others?
  8. Reflect on the following statement: image and video-based social networking sites promote consumerism.
  9. Apps like WeChat integrate all social media platforms into one. Critically discuss the implications.
  10. Critically discuss the following statement: Edward Snowden should have been pardoned by Obama and given a Nobel Prize for his work on exposing data surveillance practices.
  • In May 2020, Mark Zuckerberg remarked of Twitter fact-checking Donald Trump’s tweets: “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online”. Critically discuss.

Marking grid

Marking will be based on several factors, including the overall effect of the essay and core argument, its originality and clarity, its demonstration of knowledge and understanding of the topic at hand, and the use of academic literature. The marking grid below provides indicative marking criteria and weights that will be used to assess each essay in producing the essay’s final mark.

Structure and argumentCritical inquiryAcademic evidence and knowledgeWriting stylePresentation
The essay isCritical inquiry isCritical reflection isA fluent andThe document is
relevant to theapparent,integrated withsuccinct piecewell presented
topic at hand; it isconsideration ofjudiciously selectedof writingwith a
intuitivelydifferentacademic literaturewith correctreasonable use
structured, itsperspectivesand theory that isgrammar andof references,
analysis wellthoughtfullyintegral to the topic atspellingacademic and
developed around aintegrated withinhand. There isoverall,otherwise, that
clear, compellingthe mainevidence of deeperreflectingare correctly
and coherentargument.reading andattention tocited. There is
argument. TheOriginal andinvestigation resultingdetail andan effective use
argument iscreative thoughtin academicclarity ofof figures, tables
logically evidencedknowledge of theexpression.and images (as
 throughout.subject area. necessary).
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