Over this unit, we will discuss several different approaches to qualitative methods and analysis. We will
discuss the use of interviews, historical analysis, ethnomethodological research, and participant
observation. We will explore the positives and negatives of each approach. In addition, we will practice
each analysis in class. Now, it is your turn to conduct and compose your own qualitative analysis, based
on the topic you have chosen for the semester within your Communications track.
You will write a
research essay utilizing one of the many qualitative analysis
methodologies we have discussed. In doing so, you should research and cite the relevant chapter in our
textbook from which you are working, in addition to at least three scholarly sources from your own
Nature of Secondary Sources
All secondary sources must be scholarly and peer-reviewed—in other words, sites like Wikipedia or
others like it are not scholarly sources and are therefore unacceptable. A great start for source selection
is the bibliography at the end of each of our chapters. Remember, Chapter 2 of our textbook gives many
excellent sources as well. You should use APA citation style. If you are unsure of how to use APA citation
style, I suggest consulting a writing handbook or the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab).
Choosing an Approach
You should aim to choose the approach the best answers the qualitative research question that you have.
For example, if your research question is, How do women sports journalists experience their profession?,
you would likely want to interview several women that are in this career. If you want to ask, How have
women been represented in Super Bowl commercials?, you would likely want to do a historical analysis
of many Super Bowl commercials of the years and explore the role of women in them. If you want to ask,
What are the underlying rules and codes for marketing new vehicles on social media?, you would likely
want to do an ethnomethodological study of such advertisements. Again, your methodological approach
should be driven by your research question.
Audience and Occasion
Another challenge of this essay is that you want to understand how to consider an audience and occasion
for your own composition. In other words, you should not see Dr. Iddings or your classmates as the
primary audience, but you should think about the appropriate audience for your essay based on the
research and analysis you conduct. Within the essay, it should be clear why you are composing the essay
for your audience and for what occasion. In other words, you should answer the question: why is THIS
essay needed NOW?
Please remember that all students must meet with me for a one-on-one conference of at least one of their
three major essays this semester. It does not have to be this second one. I am happy to meet with any
student for any essay. Please make an appointment during my office hours or negotiate another time that
fits both of our schedules.
Typed, Times New Roman or Cambria font, 12 point font, Double-spaced, 1” margins
Utilize at least three, non-textbook, scholarly sources in addition to the relevant textbook chapter
APA Formatted Works Cited and In-text Citations
1250-1500 words in the body of the text, not including cover sheet, references, etc.
Must include properly formatted cover sheet (see syllabus for example)
Each draft submitted to Canvas by the due date/time
*This essay counts for 25% of your final grade.
Peer Review Workshop
Final Draft Due on Canvas by Beginning of Class
Please note that when I ask for a revision that I mean your paper needs to have significant improvements
from draft to draft based on feedback you received from your peers and me. In other words, you need to
do more than just correct spelling and sentence-level grammar for your revision to get full credit. In
addition, you must participate fully in the peer-review sessions, giving feedback to your peers as well as
discussing your own essays with your classmates. This process is vital to your success and thus you will
receive fewer points if you do not complete the process. Finally, a complete draft means one that is well-
developed and lengthy. In other words, just bringing in a brainstorming sheet or a couple of paragraphs is
not a complete draft. If you come to conferences or peer-review sessions with something like that, then
you will be asked to go to the library, finish a complete draft, and return for a new conference time.
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