Religion and the Media
Now that you have a topic, it is time to do some research. Ideally, you will have already done a preliminary search when looking for a topic to begin with. However,
even if you havent, now is the time to search out sources to help you elaborate on your topic. The types of sources you include in your bibliography greatly depend on
your topic: if you have chosen to focus on religious imagery in secular pop music, you might rely heavily on youtube clips of videos, websites that outline lyrics of
songs, etc.; if you are focusing on a particular news story, such as the secularism charter in Quebec, you will likely target news organizations both online and in
print, as well as blogs and twitter feeds; if you are wanting to research on a local religious community, you might obtain flyers, newsletters, or religious tracts.
Basically, now is the time to explore the various media in our society and collect data that relates to your proposed topic.
Given the nature of these topics, it is likely that few of them will involve academic sources (sources that are obtained from the library, e-journals, etc.), however,
this might not be the case, so feel free to search out the University of Manitoba library website (www.umanitoba.ca/libraries) for sources as well. However, unlike
traditional academic research projects, you are free to draw from a variety of media as found popular culturejust be sure to cite accordingly, using MLA formatting,
and also include internet links, so that the instructor may look at the sources you have collected.
Please be sure to:
1.Draw from a number of different internet sources (if applicable). That is, do not rely upon Wikipedia or a single web source for all your information
2.Draw from at least two types of sources. For example, if youve compiled a lot of news stories from various news organizations such as CBC, CNN, Fox News, etc., also
include sources that indicate what people on the ground are saying, such as twitter feeds, facebook pages, and blogs.
3.Include at least 15 different sources.
4.Format your bibliography according to MLA style and include your name and student number, as well as a title that indicates your topic of study.
At this stage, it is not expected that you will have read in detail all the material you are submitting. You are simply locating sources that you will use at a later
date. This step creates a foundation for exploring your topic further. If you cannot find enough sources, then it indicates that you might have to re-think your topic.
If you there are hundreds of sources to choose from, you may also want to narrow your topic further.
Once you receive feedback on your bibliography from your instructor, it is time to start reading all your fabulous sources youve compiled!
Determining your theoretical approach
Worth: 10% toward your research project
So what does one now do with all ones research material? Ideally, you will have begun to read your sources and have started to notice certain themes, ideas or ways in
which your material can be categorized. One way to do this is to identify a theoretical frame in which to apply your work.
We address several theoretical frames in the course: strong, weak and banal religion, protestantization, orientalism, television as a gathering place, the symbolic
marketplace, and hegemonic and counterhegemonic discourses on the internet. It is now up to you to determine which theoretical frame you want to use to analyze your
material. This requires a close read of the material already assigned for class, and may even require additional research to help provide you with a more nuanced or
deeper understanding of the material. For example, while we watch a film about orientalism (Edward Said: On Orientalism), you may want to look directly at his text,
Orientalism, to gain a more detailed understanding of orientalism as a theory.
This portion of your project requires a 5-6 pages, double-spaced, 12 font analysis of the theoretical framework youve chosen. When engaging in this step, attempt to
answer the following questions:
1.What is the framework youve chosen? (This should include a brief description of the theoretical framework youve chosen, in order to give your instructor a sense that
you understand the material)
2.Why is this framework a good fit for your work?
a.How will the framework help you interpret your material?
b.Justify your response based on your previous research and chosen topic: what are the strengths in using the approach you have chosen?
3.What might be the limits in using this approach?
a.What are the downfalls, or what might not be included as a result of using the theoretical framework you have chosen?
Your work should include citations using MLA formatting.
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