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COMM 101 - Understanding Mass Media - Rodriguez-Rentas: Develop a Research Topic

Your Assignment

Research paper & presentation– (first draft & final draft) using the APA format, students must prepare and submit a typed, double-spaced 5-page research paper. SPRING 2020 will not be doing the presentation. 

The topic must be on a concept covered in the class and/or text. This project allows students to examine in depth topics or material covered in the course. Student’s analysis and opinion should come from the text, as well as research.

Papers must include legitimate scholarly sources, at least HALF of sources must be scholarly (i.e. journal articles). Students are responsible for submitting two (2) papers (first draft and final draft). Hard copies of both papers are due at the start of class on their respective due dates. The final draft submission and the 3-4 minute presentation are due at the same time.

You will need a research topic that is not too broad. You can start with a broad topic and narrow it down by thinking of some of the issues associated with it. Then turn your broad topic and issue into a debatable argument.

e.g. News and Reporting:

Subtopic: Delivery Method  (Print; Online; Cable; Social Media etc.)

Issues: Ethics; Censorship; Advertising; Revenue; Credentials; Credibility etc

Topic + Subtopic + Issue = Topic

Potential topics:

Can citizen reporters supplant the role of trained journalists?

How could shareholder concerns and advertising dollars affect reporting?

How can investigative journalism survive in the age of the internet?

Has the demand of a 24-hour online news cycle led to a decrease in journalism standards?

Newspaper Publishing vs Internet Publishing and Broadcasting Jobs 2006-2016

Sources: Doherty, T. Total Number of Jobs in Each Industry.  [Graphic]. Retrieved from

Shafer,J., & Doherty, T. (2017, May/June). The Media Bubble is Worse Than You Think. Retrieved from


Don't forget to cite your graphics/visuals in your presentation: 

APA format: Lastname, FirstInitial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title. Retrieved from URL

if you cannot find a createor/author:

Title(Year, Month Day of publication). Retrieved from URL

On Reserve

Browsing through the chapters of your textbook can give you some broad topic ideas. Then focus your broad topic into a more manageable size in order to write a successful (and interesting) research paper.