English Research Paper

You need to approach the final paper for this class as though you have been hired by an
academic journal to do a research paper (minimum 2,500 words) on some issue relating to
film. You can select your own topic, but it should be one that requires outside research and
combines the field of film studies with an area in which you have a particular interest.
Topics might include the interaction of film and another discipline (such as music,
psychology, law enforcement, etc.), the work of a favorite filmmaker, recent developments
in a particular genre, or technical aspects of films, but the focus should be sufficiently
narrow to be covered in the required page length (don’t try to cover the entire history of
Walt Disney films in seven to nine pages, for example). Your paper should provide a clear
thesis statement that establishes your focus and then supports this with examples from
representative films and evidence from outside sources. As an example, it is not enough to
just state that you are writing about the recent cycle of films dealing with teenagers in bleak
futuristic settings, but you should identify a specific aspect of the genre that you want to
examine, such as the depiction of female characters in the Hunger Games films.
In addition to the paper, you need to prepare an annotated bibliography (you should aim for
about 20-25 sources) of references related to your topic. This could include film reviews,
articles, books, and websites relevant to your paper. Your bibliography should not just rely
on just once type of source, but should include a variety of different sources. You should
design the bibliography so that there are clearly defined sections. These may be based on
format (one section on books, one on film reviews, etc.) or subjects (for example, if you are
writing about a particular filmmaker you might include one section on biographies about
the person, one on sources about the person’s films, another on genres in which the
filmmaker often worked, etc.). Each listing in your bibliography should include a citation
for the source (just the same as you would do for a Works Cited page and a brief (one to
three sentence) annotation. The annotation should describe the type of source it is (such as
a biography of a director, a review of the film, an academic journal article that analyzes the
film, etc.) and a brief explanation of whether it would be useful to your research (and, if so,
how). For example, if you were doing a study of the depiction of families in Steven Spielberg
films you might include in your bibliography a book about the director’s life. Your
annotation might indicate that the source is a book-length biography of Spielberg and that
the first few chapters would be useful for your research in showing how Spielberg’s
childhood and his parents’ divorce influenced the depiction of single-parent families in
many of his films. Your bibliography will be evaluated on the range of sources you were able
to locate, the number of different sections for your subject you were able to identify, and the
quality of your annotations.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND DEADLINES – Since you are approaching this paper as
though it is being submitted for a professional journal, failure to meet any of these deadlines
will result in a failing grade for the assignment, so please contact me in advance if you are
any encountering problems.
Annotated Bibliography – I am not assigning a specific due date for the Annotated
Bibliography since you will be continuing to make changes to this as you work through your
rough draft and prepare your final draft, but with your Rough Draft you should submit a list
of the sources, with annotations, you consulted to write the first version of your paper.
When you submit the Final Revised Draft you also need to include a revised version of the
Annotated Bibliography, with proper formatting for source citations and full annotations.

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Keep in mind that the Annotated Bibliography will include all the sources you looked at in
doing your research, even if you did not cite them in the paper. In addition to the Annotated
Bibliography your Rough and Final Drafts of the paper should include a Works Cited page at
the end, which will list the sources you actually reference in the paper (though you only
need to include the source citations for the Works Cited page, not the annotations).

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