Step 1: Pick an article from the required readings. The first step is to choose an article from our course readings on a topic that is of your interest. Students should decide which reading they would like to pick and sign up with the instructor by the third week of instruction.
Step 2: Write a reflection summary on the reading (1-2 pages). As you read through and critically engage with the reading materials, provide a reflective review of the article that summarizes and critiques it in your own words. The summary is expected to have following elements:
1.Overall Thesis: Introduce the overall thesis/ research question of the article. Example: The article is about…; The general question is….
2.Context: Describe the specific context within which the study is based. This could be a sub-field in the communication discipline, a debate about a theory, a gap in previous studies, and a historical or recent event. In this section, you should also relate the topic in the reading to our lecture materials. That is to situate the reading within a specific area of study in communication and discuss how the reading is connected to lecture materials.
3.Main Arguments: Summarize the general themes, key points and arguments in the article. Essentially, you should try to integrate what was found across the study into some statements about what is known about the topic area and what contribution(s) the study makes. You should also present the evidences and examples used by the author(s).
4.Critiques: Discuss your evaluation of the work’s strengths and/or shortcomings. These could include critiques about the topic, the arguments and the examples. The following questions may help you analyze the article: How well is the thesis chosen? Why or why not is it an important topic? Are there any flaws/ contradictions/ constraints in the argument? How well are the evidences and examples used? Are they convincing and why? You are encouraged to go beyond these questions and provide your own thoughts.
5.Conclusion: End the summary by making a final statement about the reading and your evaluation.
Step 3: Analyze the practical implications of the research (1-2 pages). Based on what you have learned from the reading and the related course materials, discuss how the research findings might be applied to our daily life. For example, how might the study help people communicate more effectively in certain ways or under specific circumstances? Or, how might the concept or the theory in the article help us think critically and differently about an existing problem or situation?
For this section, you are encouraged to do a brainstorm activity: sit down on your own or with family and friends, review your reading summary, make a list of real or hypothetical scenarios where you could see the utility of the various concepts or theories, and explain in what ways and to what extent the research can be applied. Choose two or three examples that best exemplify the research findings and explicate. Be specific in your application- that is: have specific examples and relate the examples to specific arguments from the reading. When you cite the reading materials, be sure to include proper citation and references.
In view of your critiques of the article, you should also consider how the limitations or weaknesses of the research could be improved by extending the study into other related but understudied areas. These could also be real life scenarios that you are interested in but the scholars might have not addressed.
Step 4: Explore career opportunities (1 pages). With the practical implications you have found from the reading and related course topics, now you should do some research on the career outlook in communication studies. Starting a career may seem ages away, but it is helpful that you begin to early explore your interests early. The following questions will help you with this self-reflection and career- exploration exercise:
1.How the research can be used in a specific communication related career field (industry/organization/job position)?
2.Alternatively, in what ways can the knowledge or skills be employed in a job outside the communication industry?
3.Would you be interested in one of these career paths you have examined above?
If yes, discuss what skills you will need to build such a career path. Explore the campus course catalogue, make a list of courses that allow will help you learn and grow.
If not, explain why and introduce a specific career outlook you might be interested.
Step 5: Submit your final essay. Put together your materials from Step 2, 3 and 4 from the above. Include a proper introduction paragraph that introduces your topic, outlines the main parts of your paper and summarizes your thesis (what you have learned from this assignment). Also include a conclusion paragraph that briefly recaps what you have done in this essay.