Final Research Paper

For your final project, you will write a 6-8-page, double-spaced, APA-formatted, scholarly research paper one of the following research questions*:

Do negative political campaigns affect democracy?
Did social media disrupt the gatekeeping theory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by bypassing or replacing the legacy mass media?
Are the perceptions of candidate traits shaped by the media?
Do established mass communication theories still apply in a digital democracy?
How can communication and persuasion be used in the modern political campaign to influence reasoning voters?
Does the proliferation of information sources cause or contribute to the polarization of political views in the U.S. news media?
How does reliance on social media for news and information affect news consumers perspectives on the world?
Do emerging trends in audience segmentation have the potential to affirm or destabilize a democracy?
What is the emerging relationship between social media and agenda-setting theory?
How does the self-selection of news and information affect political views?
What is the emerging relationship of social media and the two-step flow of information, and how might that be affecting U.S. candidate and voter behaviors?
What is the role of campaign advertising in a social media world?
How has social media use by U.S. political candidates evolved over time?
Is competition from an increasing number of alternative news and information technologies and sources in the United States causing, contributing to, or accelerating bias in U.S. news content?
How do political candidates seek to affect the media to frame issues to their advantage?
How are the internet and social media affecting the roles of U.S. television, radio, newspapers, and magazines as gatekeepers?
How are media ownership patterns affecting news and information about U.S. politics and government?
Select one of the following areas:
News reporting
Political campaigning
Public relations
Marketing and advertising
News and information consumption
Media economics
and analyze the impact that the internet has had in the context of one of the following mass communication theories or set of related mass communication theories:

spiral of silence
theories of perception
uses and gratifications
muted group
symbolic interaction
diffusion of innovations
active audience
semiotic democracy
media system dependency
mean world syndrome
* Your instructor may assign your topic from this list. Your instructor also may permit students to pursue a research question not in this list. Check with your instructor first before you begin any work.

Your paper should clearly state your position on/conclusions about the media effects issue posed in your research question, supported by researched evidence and reasons, including at least one relevant mass communication theory studied in this course. It should be 6-8 pages in length and employ 6-10 credible and authoritative resources, of which at least three must be peer-reviewed, scholarly journals. Its ideas must be properly documented with in-text citations and an end-of-text reference list that conform to the American Psychological Associations style rules.

Specific quotations must be employed, properly integrated into the paper as direct quotes, summaries, or paraphrases, direct quotes, summaries, or paraphrases accompanied by in-text citations that reflect American Psychological Association style rules. No more than three of the direct quotes may be long block quotes. The sources may not include general websites, blogs, Wikipedia, or wiki-type materials.

Your paper must be carefully edited and proofread. The paper also should follow the general American Psychological Association manuscript rules and be double-spaced with a title page. Please also make sure to verify the originality and documentation by submitting your paper to if it is made available by your instructor. Consult your instructor for login details.

The grading rubric is here.  (You may need to right-click and open the link in a new window or tab.) In general, the paper will be evaluated in terms of how well it meets the requirements of the assignment for both content and form; how in-depth the exploration and analysis of the issue is; how well outside sources are integrated into its narrative; the credibility, currency, and authority of its research; and how professionally the paper is written and edited in terms of academic language conventions.

If you need help with American Psychological Association citation style, see our library’s APA 7th-edition examples at .

For help developing your paper, see the Effective Writing Centers online guides to writing and research. 

You must submit your paper in your assignment folder by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 11, 2020 (note date!) of Week 8 unless otherwise directed by your instructor.  Late papers cannot be accepted after the class has ended.


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