Compiling an initial bibliography

RESEARCH PROJECT Worth: 45% of your final grade The research project is broken down into a series of steps and grades, which have varying due dates throughout the course.  The purpose of this project is to allow the student to engage in issues raised in the course related to religion and media, but within a framework that is of personal interest to the student.  Ideally, this work, in its final presentation, will be one that can be shared with the rest of the class and prompt further discussion about the ways in which religion is represented in the media.
This research project is broken down as follows:
Step 1:  Choosing a topic
Due:  Week 3
Worth: 10% toward your research project This assignment is a brief description of the topic that you intend to focus on for your research project.  You are only limited by imagination.  Religious language in Lady Gaga songs?  Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series?  Pope Francis’s use of and representation on the internet? The Arab Spring and social media?News reporting on Quebec’s secularism charter?Religious symbolism in secular fashion?Book censorship in India? These are all topics that could work! Or, similarly, one could focus on a local religious community and track news stories, uses of media by them, and so on.  If you are having difficulty coming up with your own topic, peruse our course material for ideas and see if something interests you in our course readings.
This part of your project should be approximately one paragraph in length, typed and single spaced.  If you are using a news story, a website, a music video, etc. as a starting point for your topic, please include that as well.  This portion of your assignment should also include your name, student number, and a title that describes your proposed topic. No title page is necessary.
Because this initial assignment lays the foundation for your future research project, it is important that you pay attention to any feedback that your instructor offers related to this exercise.  It is important to ensure that you have a sustainable topic: if it is too obscure, it might be difficult to find an adequate number of sources; if it is too broad, you might find there is too much information and therefore have difficulty in focusing your sources as you work through your project. Step 2:
Compiling an initial bibliography
Due: Week 7
Worth: 10% toward your research project Now that you have a topic, it is time to do some research.  Ideally, you will have already done a preliminary search when looking for a topic to begin with.  However, even if you haven’t, now is the time to search out sources to help you elaborate on your topic.  The types of sources you include in your bibliography greatly depend on your topic:  if you have chosen to focus on religious imagery in secular pop music, you might rely heavily on youtube clips of videos, websites that outline lyrics of songs, etc.; if you are focusing on a particular news story, such as the secularism charter in Quebec, you will likely target news organizations both online and in print, as well as blogs and twitter feeds; if you are wanting to research on a local religious community, you might obtain flyers, newsletters, or religious tracts.  Basically, now is the time to explore the various media in our society and collect data that relates to your proposed topic.
Given the nature of these topics, it is likely that few of them will involve academic sources (sources that are obtained from the library, e-journals, etc.), however, this might not be the case, so feel free to search out the University of Manitoba library website ( for sources as well.  However, unlike traditional academic research projects, you are free to draw from a variety of media as found popular culture—just be sure to cite accordingly, using MLA formatting, and also include internet links, so that the instructor may look at the sources you have collected.
Please be sure to:
1.    Draw from a number of different internet sources (if applicable).  That is, do not rely upon Wikipedia or a single web source for all your information
2.    Draw from at least two types of sources.  For example, if you’ve compiled a lot of news stories from various news organizations such as CBC, CNN, Fox News, etc., also include sources that indicate what “people on the ground” are saying, such as twitter feeds, facebook pages, and blogs.
3.    Include at least 15 different sources.
4.    Format your bibliography according to MLA style and include your name and student number, as well as a title that indicates your topic of study.
At this stage, it is not expected that you will have read in detail all the material you are submitting.  You are simply locating sources that you will use at a later date.  This step creates a foundation for exploring your topic further. If you cannot find enough sources, then it indicates that you might have to re-think your topic. If you there are hundreds of sources to choose from, you may also want to narrow your topic further.
Once you receive feedback on your bibliography from your instructor, it is time to start reading all your fabulous sources you’ve compiled!
Determining your theoretical approach
Worth: 10% toward your research project So what does one now do with all one’s research material?  Ideally, you will have begun to read your sources and have started to notice certain themes, ideas or ways in which your material can be categorized.  One way to do this is to identify a theoretical frame in which to apply your work.
We address several theoretical frames in the course: strong, weak and banal religion, protestantization, orientalism, television as a gathering place, the symbolic marketplace, and hegemonic and counterhegemonic discourses on the internet. It is now up to you to determine which theoretical frame you want to use to analyze your material. This requires a close read of the material already assigned for class, and may even require additional research to help provide you with a more nuanced or deeper understanding of the material. For example, while we watch a film about orientalism (Edward Said: On Orientalism), you may want to look directly at his text, Orientalism, to gain a more detailed understanding of orientalism as a theory.
This portion of your project requires a 5-6 pages, double-spaced, 12 font analysis of the theoretical framework you’ve chosen.  When engaging in this step, attempt to answer the following questions:
1.    What is the framework you’ve chosen? (This should include a brief description of the theoretical framework you’ve chosen, in order to give your instructor a sense that you understand the material)
2.    Why is this framework a good fit for your work?
a.    How will the framework help you interpret your material?
b.    Justify your response based on your previous research and chosen topic:  what are the strengths in using the approach you have chosen?
3.    What might be the limits in using this approach?
a.    What are the downfalls, or what might not be included as a result of using the theoretical framework you have chosen?
Your work should include citations using MLA formatting. Step 3:  The final research project
Due: Week 11
Worth: 15% toward your research project You have completed all the legwork, and now it is time to put all your material together.  Your final research project should include:
1.    A summary of your topic with special reference to how it relates to religion and media (that is, why is your topic a relevant one to the field?)
2.    A brief introduction to the theoretical framework you’ve chosen in step 3
3.    An analysis of your topic within the context of the chosen theoretical frame
This project should be approximately 10 pages in length, double spaced in 12 font. All sources should be cited using MLA formatting: this includes images, youtube links, newspapers, etc.  All internet sources should include links so that they may be uploaded to our internet site.

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