Research & Role Play
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Report Guidelines    Approved Topics     Research Report Format     Evaluation Criteria     Role-PlayGuidelines    



Research Report/Role-Play Guidelines*

To illustrate the complexity of TEM issues, you will author a research report and participate in a role-play. The research report is a document that critically probes a controversial question within your profession. Specifically, the report should discuss a short history of the issue, the primary and most controversial perspectives of the issue, the primary parties impacted by the issue, legal and/or regulatory responses to the issue, and a practical, research-based answer to the controversial question. Examples of previous research questions are attached.

You should use at least 10 sources, which MUST include at least 5 empirical studies published in academic journals, preferably communication journals. Empirical studies involve original, peer-reviewed research typically reported in distinct sections that reflect the stages in the research process, i.e. introduction, literature review, method, results, discussion. You may also draw from other sources, i.e. books (including class text), trade publications, newspapers, magazines, on-line materials, and legal materials. (The first reference list you turn in will be a working reference list. You may need to add or delete from the list in order to obtain the information necessary to answer your research question. Do not change topics unless approved by the instructor.)

Sources should be relatively current (within the decade) unless they are used to establish historical context. When citing sources in text and reference list, you should adhere to APA guidelines (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association/Fourth Edition). Major communication journals include:

Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
Journal of Communication
Mass Communication & Society
Journal of Public Relations
Television Quarterly
Journal of Radio Studies
Journal of Mass Media Ethics

Usually these journals as well as other communication references are indexed in Arts & Humanities Search, Current Contents, Periodical Abstracts, and Social Sciences Abstracts. A useful web site to locate full text of selected communication journal articles is

Your research report should be 10 - 15 typed pages, EXCLUDING title and reference pages. It should be double-spaced and typed in a 12-point font within 1" margins (left/right/top/bottom). The title page should include a title, your name, COMM 3350. The reference page should be titled References.

During role-play, you will share your research report as an expert panelist. Students enrolled in COMM 1154 will be invited to hear your presentation. You will have 10-12 minutes to present your report. Following panel presentations, the audience will be invited to ask questions. Your presentation will be videotaped.

*I wish to acknowledge and thank Dr. Camilla Gant for allowing me to use this assignment.


Approved Research Questions

Is TV violence creating a more aggressive society?

Do news media give rap music a bad rap?

Should government ban alcohol advertisements?

Minority TV presentations: Where’s diversity?

How has the Telecommunications Act of 1996 impacted competition in the media marketplace?

Does journalistic integrity exist?

Why are African Americans nearly invisible in prime time TV?

Prime time TV violence: How can society protect its youth?

Will on-line newspapers replace traditional ones in the 21st century?

Do Nielsen ratings compromise TV news ethics?

Should controversial movie realities be sanitized?

Should graphic material be broadcast?

What does entertainment TV teach children about male and female roles in society?

How can TV news appeal to Generation X?

Sensational news: How does it (dis)serve society?

Will the V-chip effectively censor youth viewing?

Who does libel law really protect…the plaintiff or defendant?

How have TV ratings impacted audience viewing?

Does agenda-setting serve public interest?

Is it practical to encourage ethics in PR?

Does entertainment TV portray African Americans in diverse roles?

What are the rights and responsibilities of False Light victims?

Are African Americans disappearing in prime time network TV?

Are ethics declining in TV news reporting?

How does TV news impact viewers’ emotions?

How have the V-chip and TV ratings impacted audience viewing?

Do TV programmers have a moral responsibility to promote family values?

What impact does media literacy training have on younger viewers’ ability to evaluate messages?


Research Report Format

Your research report should be 10-15 typed pages, EXCLUDING title and reference pages. It should be double-spaced and typed in a 12-point font within 1" margins (left/right/top/bottom). The title page should include a title, your name, COMM 3350. The reference page should be titled References.

Your research report should probe a controversial question within the telecommunication and electronic media industries. The following guidelines should be used to organize your report. The length of each section is only a suggestion.

Title Page

Title (centered)

Several Spaces (at least 10)

Your Name (centered)

COMM 3350-Telecommunication and Electronic Media Industries (centered)

Abstract (50-150 words): You should summarize your paper by posing the controversial question and suggesting your answer based on your analysis of the relevant literature.

Introduction (1-2 pages)

You should begin your paper with a general overview of your topic. Draw the reader in with a relevant quote or interesting statistic or intriguing opinion from one of the articles you read. You should pose your research question in the final paragraph of this section. For example, "This paper will attempt to answer the following research question: ‘Does media literacy training affect children’s attitudes toward advertised products?’" Follow this by highlighting how you will attempt to answer the question. For example, "The following discussion will review the relevant literature and offer an analysis of previous research in an attempt to answer the proposed research question. Conclusions will be drawn and future research suggested."

Literature Review (5-8 pages)

This section may include several sub-headings (not all sub-headings will be relevant for everyone) (Label each sub-section appropriately. You do not have to use the same terms as below):

History of the issue

Primary and most controversial perspectives of the issue

Primary parties impacted by the issue

Legal and/or regulatory responses to the issue

Analysis/Discussion (5-8 pages)

In this section you will attempt to provide a practical, research-based answer to the controversial question posed in the introduction. Here you will analyze and synthesize the information you collected. Be sure to use your research to back up the conclusions you draw. Identify conflicting research and information. Organize your thoughts and conclusions. You may have 3-5 points you want to make. You may find that several themes emerged from your research and you may want to address each theme in turn. Each theme might have several sub-points.

Conclusions/Future Research (1-3 pages)

This section is a summary of the conclusions you draw in the previous section. They can be more general in nature. Also, you should include suggestions for future research that might help answer your research question more completely. Remember that your research may not lead to a conclusive answer.


Research Report/Role-Play Evaluation

Research Report

            Comprehensiveness            25 Pts

Synthesis                         25

Analysis                           30

Coherency/Organization      20

APA Documentation    15

Format/Grammar             10

TOTAL                     125


     Comprehensiveness          20 Pts

Citation                     15

Clarity                     15

Audio/Visual Aids             10

Time                             10

Professionalism               5

TOTAL                     75


Role-Play Guidelines

COMM 3350-Spring 2000

During role-play, you will share your research report as an expert panelist. You will have 10 minutes to present your report. Following panel presentations, the audience will be invited to ask questions. Your presentation will be videotaped.

You will be evaluated on the following:

Comprehensiveness (20 pts.): Your presentation should follow the general rules of effective public speaking. Begin with an introduction that captures our attention, relate the topic to the audience in general or specific terms, clearly state your research question, and explain how you will attempt to answer the questions. You should discuss the main points of your paper (e.g., history, controversial perspectives, analysis, etc.) and highlight the most important aspects. Conclude with a summary and answer to your question. DO NOT READ from your paper.

Citation (15 pts.): You must cite the works you used. For example, "In 1997, Austin and Johnson suggested that media literacy helps children in their decision making about alcohol later in life." You should have learned how to do this in public speaking.

Clarity (15 pts.): Be organized. Make it easy for the audience to follow your ideas. Enunciate and articulate your words. Speak at an appropriate volume. No gum.

Audio/Visual Aids (10 pts.): Use your audio/visual aids purposefully and effectively. Appropriate aids include overheads, PowerPoint presentations, video clips, audio clips, newspaper or magazine clippings, artwork, Internet sites, etc. Any video and/or audio clips should not exceed 2 minutes total time (you man play more than one clip, but all clips must total 2 minutes or less).

Time (10 pts.): Ten minutes goes by fast. Practice your presentation so you do not go over. There will time after your presentation for questions. The question time is not part of the 10 minutes.

Professionalism (5 pts.): Proper dress is required. This means no T-shirts, shorts, or blue jeans.

TOTAL = 75 points

Research Report Timeline

January 31             Topic Approved (should be in the form of a Research Question)

February 07             Working Reference List Due (APA format)
                            (You may have to add/delete to your list in order to fully answer your research                               question)

March 13, 15, 17    Research Report Coaching Sessions
                            (Bring physical copies of 5 empirical articles)
                            (Make appointment during regularly scheduled class time)

April 07             Research Report Due (at beginning of class)*

*Reports turned in after class begins will be considered one day late. Ten points will be deducted each day your report is late. Penalty may be reduced or waived for reports turned in late due to unavoidable situations substantiated with documentation.


B.L. Yates 2000