University of Michigan Social Media Usage Discussion

Question Description

This assignment is an opportunity for you to connect the major patterns that emerged from your data to theories and concepts relevant to sociology of mass media. Many of you started this process in the data-theory connections section at the end of the Data assignment. The Discussion is an expansion and extension of that section.

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This assignment should be written in paragraph form. It does not need to have an introduction and conclusion (although it can if you want), but should be written in paragraphs.

  • Before you begin, you’ll want to select two or three major findings/patterns in your data that you’d like to discuss. (Note: For many of you, these will be the “Themes,” taken right from your Data assignment. But if you’re not sure if you were on the right track for the Data assignment, you’re not stuck with the Themes you chose there, for this assignment.) This is basically answering the question: “What did you find in your data?” If you had to tell a friend about your project and your data, what would you tell them was interesting about your data, sociologically speaking? If you aren’t sure if your Themes will work well, please ask me or Amanda.
  • For each of these Themes/Findings, your discussion should consist of three things:
    • Interpretation of your findings/theme in terms of at least one theory relating to sociology of mass media. The theory/theories you choose should be about either media industry, media users, media technology, or media content and representation. It should be clear in your paper (and to you) which of these sections your theory is related to. Please ask me or Amanda if you’re not sure. The perspective you take in interpreting your data could be functionalist, critical, or interactionist, but I’d like you to choose a specific theory relating to either media industry, users, technology or content. (Note: The in-class Powerpoint slides that are posted on Canvas outline many of these theories. They are organized by date, however, not by content, so if you want to choose one from there you’d likely want to look through the slides from different dates to make sure you’re choosing the most appropriate theory to interpret your data.) You can use the same theory to discuss more than one theme, but the connection between the theory and each theme should be made explicit and clearly explained.
    • Connection of your pattern/theme to at least one or two additional course concepts. These can come from class readings, concepts we discussed in class, or the textbook chapter I sent to each individual group a few weeks back.
    • Discussion of how your findings compare with the findings from at least one or two peer-reviewed academic research journal articles. (Note: For many of you, these articles can come from your Annotated Bibliography assignment. They should be academic journal articles, so if you’re not sure, please ask me or Amanda.) Discuss similarities/differences between your findings/data and what was found in the article(s).
  • Page requirement: 2.5-4 pages. I think you’ll find it difficult to do a good job with this assignment in less than that, but 4 pages should be sufficient. word count at least 800

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