An analysis of a popular cultural artefact of your choice


Max. 2000 words (+/- 10%). Reference list not included in word count.


Submission deadline 14:00, Friday 23 April 2021.

The essay is an analysis of a popular cultural artefact of your choice. Here is a chance for you to use Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies and theories discussed in class to analyse a popular culture artefact.

Possible paper outline:

Introduction: Make this short and snappy. Set the scene in the first paragraph maybe with a bit of context before you ease your reader into an explanation of what you are looking at and why this is important.

Context: You have to give us context. This may be historical, political, consumption, etc etc. You need to tell us what is relevant to your artefact. If you are looking at a film of the Vietnam War, for example, you need to give us some historical background and also the political feelings at the time. Include what other studies say about (Vietnam) films. This is very important to make your analysis meaningful.

Sample and Methodology: This will be short. You need to explain why you chose your artefact and how it represents a larger trend in popular culture. You then need to explain what exactly you will analyse and why. Refer to (M)CDS readings.

Analysis: This is the most important part of the paper. This should be close to 1000 words of a close reading of your artefact. Do not just describe, but analyse. Be critical. Show readers not just what discourses are articulated, but HOW this is done. Include in the main body of your text not only dialogue/ lyrics/ written text, but also screen grabs and images from your artefact. Make this interesting for us readers.

Conclusion: In a paragraph or two, explain how your analysis reveals the discourses articulated in your artefact. Try to link this back to your introduction.

References: Reference any ideas you have ‘borrowed’. This will give you extra points. Make sure you follow the referencing style recommended from the library website. I have also put together a short PPP on referencing the Harvard style. This is on Canvas.


I often get asked is ‘how many academic references should I use in my essay?’ I address this question by responding with questions of my own:


How informed would you like to be about the subject matter that you are exploring in the essay?


How do you plan to demonstrate to me (or any other marker of your coursework) that you are knowledgeable about and understand the subject area?

If you read an article by an academic which offers little or no sense of a wider literature or debate on the subject being discussed, how would you know whether what s/he is saying is academically informed argument rather than just, say, that person’s opinion?


To the extent that there is a debate or range of perspectives that relate to the subject area how important do you think it is to reflect these different views? And to what extent can this be done by just relying on one or two main sources?


When you are researching the subject matter being explored in your essay do you ask yourself the question ‘how many academic sources should I be reading and referring to in order to productively answer the essay question?’ And if you don’t ask yourself this question do you think maybe you should?




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