Writer’s Choice. Task
For this project you will be asked to design two original pieces of media:
The first piece you design will be one that you believe will be effective at leading to an intended media effect based on the concepts and theories we talk about in class.
You will also be asked to design an alternate version of the first piece that you believe will be ineffective at leading to that intended media effect based on the same concept/theory you used in the effective piece of media content.
There are no restrictions on the type of media you design. This can be done in numerous ways: image, audio, video, story board, scriipt, etc… You will also be expected to write a 4-page paper explaining the theoretical/conceptual argument for why you think why the two pieces of media content you designed should or should not be effective.
To do this, you should go through the following steps. If you have any questions about these steps or if you want to verify you understand the instructions, don’t hesitate to ask. Please be sure to do Steps 1 through 3 before January 9, as Step 3 constitutes the proposal due that day.
Step 1: Set a Goal
Set a specific goal you would like to bring about via media you would like to create (e.g. persuade an audience for a policy position, encourage a health behavior, etc… but you would want to specify the position or behavior). I would recommend not using whatever example you gave on Midterm 1.
Step 2: Choose a Theory or Concept
Choose a theory (e.g. elaboration likelihood model, priming, social cognitive theory, etc…) or major class concept (health belief model, fear appeal, etc…) that would guide your ability to create that desired effect. This should be specific and not broad (e.g. political communication effects is too broad). I would strongly recommend you focus on a single theory/concept. When students try to combine multiple theories/concepts, they sometimes end up making things more complicated and do not end up doing justice to any theory/concept.
Step 3: Write and Email Proposal
Email me by January 9 (at the latest) to verify that I think this is a feasible goal and theory/concept to be used together for this project. I will provide email feedback. For instance, your email proposal might look like this:
Hi! I am interested in the goal of encouraging people to wear bike helmets. I would like to use fear appeals to achieve this goal.
I will then (within 48 hours) email you back (to the email address you used for your proposal) letting you know whether your project has been approved, or I will probe you with additional impressions. Once I have approved your project, I will also update the grade item in the grade book.
Step 4: Design the Effective Content
Design a piece of media content for your chosen goal that should bring about that effect, and you should be able to justify the fact (in the paper) that it should using the theory/class concept.
I appreciate creativity; however, you will not be grade on artistic ability (as I myself have none).
Step 5: Design the Ineffective Content
Now design a modified version of your media content that should fail to create the desired effect (and the failure should be justified with the theory/concept). In other words, create an ineffective version of the content (though you should be able to explain why it would be ineffective).
Step 6: Write the Justification Paper
Write a theoretically/conceptually grounded paper arguing what the two pieces of media content should do. Your paper should explain, using theory and class concepts, what you believe will be the effects of each of the pieces of media content. The beginning of your paper should explain your intended effect before you go into describing the content and justifying your arguments. Your paper should cite at least 5 academic journal articles references not cited in reading or lecture (encouraged to cite journal articles from reading or lecture, but they won’t count towards the 5 citation minimum). Citations should be in APA format (including a reference page) By 4-page minimum, I mean 4 complete pages, not 3.9 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins, and the title page and references don’t count towards page count.
Step 6: Submit
Your final project uploaded to this BeachBoard dropbox will include the following:
The original piece of media content (or link to the media content)
The modified piece of media content (or link to the media content)
The 4-page (minimum) justification paper
This must be submitted as a Microsoft Word file. I cannot read Pages files. Students can access Microsoft Word (and the full Microsoft Office suite) for free. Instructions on how to access this can be found on the Academic Technology Services website.
Criteria for Success
Here are two samples projects that both earned As (the samples are in PDF format for security reasons, but you should submit your paper as as Microsoft Word document):
Sample Project – Fear Appeals and College Drinking
Sample Project – Fear Appeals and Climate Change
Due to a change in the rubric over the summer, these are the only A quality projects I have at this time that translate well to the current grading criteria. It does not mean that only fear appeal projects can earn As. Also, ignore the fact that these projects may bring in additional concepts beyond fear appeals. These papers are the rare instances where it is done well, so I would caution you against using multiple theories/concepts (more is not necessarily better). You can find the rubric for the Final Project here:
Final Project Rubric
While this rubric is out of 40 points, it is not a percentage based rubric. Rather think of it as a 4.0 scale (just multiplied by 10). For instance, a 30 should be thought as a 3.0 (a B) rather than a 75% (a C); a 20 should be thought of as a 2.0 (a C) rather than a 50% (an F). These Rubric Points can then be converted to Grade Book Points (which follow a more traditional 100%/90%/80%/etc… format) using the following formulas:
Grading Formula 1 (out of 90 points) = 45 1.125 * rubric points
Grading Formula 2 (out of 120 points) = 60 1.5 * rubric points