UMUC NSCI 101 Week 2 Assignment 1 Final Research Paper Proposal


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For your final project, you will use a mass communication theory to investigate a media effect(s) related to contemporary U.S. political communications and write a 6-8-page, double-spaced, APA-formatted paper. For the first step of that assignment, you will choose a research question from among those listed below and write a 2-page research topic proposal essay or memo to your instructor in which you justify your topic choice.

Review the following list of research questions carefully. Use Google Scholar to learn more about those topics that interest you. Then, select one research question to investigate for your final paper*:

  1. Do negative political campaigns affect democracy?
  2. Did social media disrupt the gatekeeping theory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by bypassing or replacing the legacy mass media?
  3. Are the perceptions of candidate traits shaped by the media?
  4. Do established mass communication theories still apply in a digital democracy?
  5. How can communication and persuasion be used in the modern political campaign to influence reasoning voters?
  6. Does the proliferation of information sources cause or contribute to the polarization of political views in the U.S. news media?
  7. How does reliance on social media for news and information affect news consumers’ perspectives on the world?
  8. Do emerging trends in audience segmentation have the potential to affirm or destabilize a democracy?
  9. What is the emerging relationship between social media and agenda-setting theory?
  10. How does the self-selection of news and information affect political views?
  11. 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?
  12. What is the role of campaign advertising in a social media world?
  13. How has social media use by U.S. political candidates evolved over time?
  14. 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?
  15. How do political candidates seek to affect the media to frame issues to their advantage?
  16. How are the internet and social media affecting the roles of U.S. television, radio, newspapers, and magazines as gatekeepers?
  17. How are media ownership patterns affecting news and information about U.S. politics and government?
  18. 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 on one of the following mass communication theories or set of related mass communication theories:

  • agenda-setting
  • spiral of silence
  • theories of perception
  • cultivation
  • hegemony
  • framing
  • standpoint
  • uses and gratifications
  • muted group
  • ethnography
  • McLuhanism
  • symbolic interaction
  • diffusion of innovations
  • active audience
  • semiotic democracy
  • filtering
  • bias
  • media system dependency
  • mean world syndrome
  • propaganda

* Your instructor may assign your topic. 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.

Once you have investigated the research questions and decided which one you want to pursue, write the 2-page research topic proposal essay or memo to your instructor in which you include the following elements:

  1. Re-state the research question that you want to pursue;
  2. Explain why the question interests you;
  3. List at least 5 things you already know about the topics-;
  4. List at least 5 things you need to find out about the topic and
  5. State what your proposed thesis or position statement will be on that topic.