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ENGL 1101: Our Pop World - A Research Analysis  

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Necessary Elements

Primary and contextual research into your pop artifact will be necessary to conduct your analysis, and fully develop your argument about it.  You are not hunting for sources to repeat exactly what you want to say.  Analysis of the primary text allows you to make claims; knowledge of the time period or people's reactions lends credence to those claims.

Minimum of three, varied, professor-approved, sources required.

MLA in-text citations and a Works Cited Page required.

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Assignment Description

This essay presents your view -- your argument -- and your in-depth analysis of a popular visual text or artifact that you consider to be important and/or influential in our culture.  It may be an advertisement or billboard campaign, a music video, a TV show, a film, or a video game.  It could be a doll, an action figure, or an album cover.  It could be a genre within one of these categories.  You may think of something that I have not considered.  Whatever you choose to analyze should incite strong feelings in you -- enough that you would want to learn more about it, and, in turn, explain to others why they, too, should think twice about its impact.

So, you might choose to analyze and write about a pop culture artifact such as a particular kind of toy that is currently popular or perhaps one that has gone through various versions or models over the years -- such as Barbie, GI Joe, Lego, Game Boy, Nintendo, a video game series, etc.  Or, perhaps you’d like to analyze a television show that ran for years (such as The Price Is Right, American Idol, The Simpsons, South Park, As the World Turns, or Survivor).  Be careful to narrow your topic so that you can analyze the artifact, and perhaps the events surrounding it, in the appropriate depth for this essay.

In your analysis, consider rhetorical features such as purpose, audience, and context.  In a way, you are pretending to be an anthropologist, studying the artifact(s) of a culture in order to determine what they might have been trying to accomplish, what messages they sent, what uses people had for them, which people used them, and what impact they had upon the society.  For example, based upon a study of your artifact’s features, what was going on at the time of its release, and its implied audience, you will make your claims about its meaning and impact -- whether it's Lady Gaga’s fashion choices, or Michael Jackson’s seminal music video, “Thriller”.


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