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ENGL 1101: Our Pop World - A Research Analysis  

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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.


How to Cite an Image

Purdue OWL - MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

"If the work is cited on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, the medium of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website.  If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author."

An Article in a Web Magazine

"Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the Web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, medium of publication, and the date of access.  Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given."

Getty Images.  "Miley Cyrus visits 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan."  Photograph.  "Miley Cyrus performs 'We Can't Stop' a capella with Jimmy Fallon, the Roots.  Newsday, 9 Oct. 2013.  Web.  10 Oct. 2013.  <>.


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”.


Google Images

Google Images

When searching Google Images, if you want to filter and customize the image search results you see, use the options along the top of the results page (you must do a search to have these options).  For instance, after selecting "search tools", you can choose just to see black and white photos or only images of a certain size (which is important to consider when doing a presentation . . . use only large images).  You can limit to clipart images or line drawings or photos.

See the "search tools" link pictured below.

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