Key concepts – seminar about Essay writing

NB! A hand-in guideline for the 105MC essay: http://keyconceptsinmc.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/essay-hand-in/

Yesterday, instead of the usual seminar session talking about weekly tasks, Group A’s seminar took another direction – clarification and useful notes and guides about the essay we’re expected to submit. Here are the highlights of the seminar with Spencer Murphy:

  • We’re expected to write a critical analysis that ‘touches base’ with some or ideally all concepts we were presented in the lectures – genre, narrative, institution, representation, etc. The main purpose of it is to show we understand these concepts and can apply them. The essay should also be about us showing engagement with these concepts and the module in general.
  • It should not include phrases like ‘I think…’ unless it really helps the argument. It’s supposed to be an academic essay, not just a reflection. And, when we don’t write in first person, it gives the essay more authority.
  • The main question that we need to answer with this essay is ‘Why?’. The lipdub has this and this, but why? Analyse it critically.
  • If we’re citing or summarising another person’s idea – we need to reference it and cite the source; otherwise we could be penalised for plagiarism. Citations are counted towards the final word count of the essay. More info and help – Centre for Academic Writing, Library, CU Portal.
  • We should use the Harvard Reference style (more on it on the CU Portal here: http://home.ched.coventry.ac.uk/caw/harvard/index.htm – requires login with the University username), and have the reference list on a separate sheet/sheets at the end of the essay.
  • The title page should include our name, Student ID, the assignment title and the tutor it’s addressed to – in our case, Spencer Murphy.
  • It’s good to try and write about if the lipdub fits within a specific genre, and why. We can also try and contextualise it. NB! Lipsync is not a genre… Is it a music video (or video with background music), why or why not? Is it a short film? Video installation? Video performance? Experimental film? How do we define any of these genres?
  • What is a genre anyway? Who defines the genre? – According to what Spencer Murphy said in the seminar, the audience creates the genre – then the industry identifies it, takes on it… The audience says ‘It’s like X and not like Y’.
  • What is a university lipdub? Is there an institution behind it (university)? What are the lipdubs trying to communicate? Is it that it’s fun to be at university, or is it something else?
  • If we speak about audience – the intended audience were primarily the tutors, and then the other groups. Everyone knew what a lipdub is. We knew the tutors didn’t want to see something like the Lipdub #1 from the website we were shown; the audience is rather academic (tutors), people that are practice-based and understand the media and concepts – and we had this in mind – what does this fact change? How did it influence the process and/or end product? Was this an empowered audience? We were literally making it for them – what kind of effect did this have? Pressure?
  • What was the narrative in the lipdub? Try and analyse it relation to Propp’s and Todorov’s theories.
  • We could also use Lasswell – Who says what to whom in which channel with what effect…
  • Did we have a generic video or did we try to challenge a myth/convention? What is the representation of gender in the video? Why is the main character male, why is the story like that, what would have changed if the character were female or kissed / hugged someone from the same gender in the end? S. Murphy made the point that it’s important to know the conventions – so if we are making a genre piece that follows conventions – we would make a better generic piece; if we’re trying to challenge conventions – it’s easier to do it when we know what they are. In our case – it wasn’t a conscious choice to make the video the way we did – we didn’t intentionally put a male character dumped by a female; what would have changed if we were more aware about these concepts?
  • The essay is not about how we could have made the lipdub ‘better’. It’s about identifying all these concepts, analysing the tools used and the effects of all that to the final piece/audience reaction.
  • It’s a good idea to write a comparison between ours and other people’s lipdubs. What was different in ours and, for example, group E’s lipdubs, from everyone else?
  • In the essay, we shouldn’t refer to the video as ‘our lipdub’. Better – say ‘Group A’s lipdub/video’.
  • The essay (printed) should be handed in at the Ellen Terry reception. Layout: 12pt, 1.5 Double linespace, no guideline for the font we’re using – as long as it’s legible Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Good luck to all 🙂
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One thought on “Key concepts – seminar about Essay writing

  1. Pingback: Clarification about essay | Group A4's blog on 105MC

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