Racial Profiling in the Mass Media

    The goal of this assignment is twofold: (1) to explore attitudes about ethics and morality and (2) to determine the role various media play in morality. The overarching purpose of this assignment is for you to demonstrate that it can gather, synthesize and present findings to create an evidence-supported convincing argument. Because you are studying a topic that resonates with your own experience and views, you must work to set aside your own biases. Be careful not to pollute your research subjects responses with your own point of view.

    You should consider both secondary and primary research as part of this assignment (you may not rely on the Internet alone for secondary sources make use of Galileo and/or Henderson Library sources I will be looking for peer reviewed articles and scholarly books to be cited in your paper). What articles or studies can you find that deal with this topic in a scholarly manner (meaning the evidence and research is cited)? You will need to consult a minimum of six secondary sources (more will make the project stronger) that are peer reviewed or scholarly books. News articles do not count. You may have more sources if you have news articles, or information from the Internet. You can use the articles that I have given you in class. Your primary research should consist of qualitative interviews, and a minimum of five should be conducted.

    Qualitative interviews will help explain why. These are interviews that last a half hour to 45 minutes and ask questions that encourage the interviewee to talk about his or her rationale for acting in a certain way or believing certain things. You should record these, then go back and listen to them so you can cite relevant statements.

    Be careful not to prompt your interviewee in certain directions regarding the topic dont give them your answer or opinion; see what what develops from the interview. Simply ask neutrally worded questions. Do not ask Yes or No questions. Phrase questions that encourage the interviewee to explain his/her views. You will summarize your findings in a 12-page paper (this doesnt include your title page, abstract, question or references). You will need to include with the paper: a title page, an abstract, an APA-style bibliography, and a list of the interview questions.

    You will need an introduction, a review of the literature, a summary of findings, and a discussion/conclusion section. I expect the summary of findings to be the longest section of your paper

    Introduction – Should be 1 to 2 pages where you set up the purpose of the paper. Tell me why you are studying the ethical issue you are studying and why it is important area to study. Tell my why I should care about the issue. Have a purpose statement to set up the paper. Everything should relate to the purpose statement.
    Literature Review – Should be 4 – 5 pages where you talk about the previous peer reviewed literature you found. You have to have six scholarly sources. So look up your topic in Galileo and find what others have written about it. Look at Media Ethics journals to find out how other scholars have investigated your topic.
    Summary of Findings – Should be 5 to 7 pages. This is where you will summarize the findings of the interviews you did. I mentioned before, and I will say it again, do not just list what people said. Synthesis the responses. Tell me how all the people agree with one question, but they differed in other areas. You may use direct quotes from the interview subject, but only if they are really good direct quote. You should not have more than 1 direct quote per page. The rest should be paraphrasing.
    Discussion and Conclusion – Should be 2 to 3 pages. This is where you explained how your research ties to the previous literature you found, and more importantly, your purpose of your paper. Tell me what is important about the findings, and how it relates to other research.
    Reference List – Please have a reference list which includes both the research articles you used as well as the people you interviewed. I need contact interview for each subject. Do not put them in the paper. Just refer to them as Person A, Person B, etc. Let me know in the reference who is who in the paper.
    Appendix – Please give me a list of the questions you asked the participants.
    Hints: When writing up your findings, I want you to demonstrate both synthesis and analysis. Dont tell me that Person A said this and then Person B said that. You need to look for patterns and you need to summarize your results thematically across participants and you need to provide examples in the form of direct quotes from your participants. However, I want the quotes to be illustrations for the themes that you identify, and I dont want direct quote after direct quote after direct quote. Generally, the direct quotes should be two or three sentences. If you use a larger quote, it must be a very, very good quote.You can use one direct quote every page at most. My suggest is paraphrase most, with direct quotes sparingly.

    Here are some possible questions. Modify these or create others that are appropriate based on the interviewees answers. Each interview should be about 30 minutes, so you will have to think of other questions that pertain to your topic.

    Questions for participants:

    We have had several major shootings in the past year. Of the 300 or so mass shootings in the last year, only two were perpetrated by Muslims. Many Media Practitioners have complained about the coverage the media gives to major shootings. Do you think the media is being fair in the portrayal of these shootings? How should the media handle shootings?
    Do you think the media is being ethical? Why or why not?
    What should the media do to be ethical? Why or why not?
    The shootings involving the Muslims can be tied to ISIS, a terrorist organization in the Middle East, while the shootings involving other people cannot. That means the shootings involving Muslims can be tied to each other, while the shootings involving others do not tie together. Do you think the media should focus more attention on these shootings involving ISIS? Why or Why not?
    The media oftentimes focus attention on the shooter, rather than the victims. Is this ethical? Should the media focus more on the victims? Why or why not?
    What are the ethics surrounding media coverage of a shooting? What should the media focus on? How much attention should the media provide of shootings? Why or why not?

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