Written Communication – Research Paper

 Agenda Setting Theory Research Paper

I will be reflecting on my research paper about the agenda setting theory that I did for my Communication Theory class. The thesis of this paper was that the media’s agenda has a direct effect to the agenda of the public.  The purpose of this research paper was to find examples and information that would support this claim while also finding evidence to refute counter arguments.  Also, my goal was to provide a deeper look into all of the different parts of agenda setting theory.

The audience for this paper was my Comm. 230 class and Professor Peterson.  Since we discussed the basics of the theory in class, I focused my paper on going deeper into the origin, experiments and questions about the theory.  After the introduction, I started with how the theory was founded and the results of the first test.  The important part of the first paragraph was not that I mentioned McCombs and Shaw, the founders of this theory, but I included specific information about the results of their initial test.  The common knowledge of the class knew the basics of the theory, but my research found more information that the class hadn’t heard before, therefore making it more interesting and compelling.  Without this information, I would have had no support to my claims of the media setting the public’s agenda.  One important thing that I added specifically to engaged my audience is a personal account of this theory playing out in my life.  I used the example of ESPN making a big deal out of minor situations.  This example isn’t the best example of the theory, but it has all the important parts.  My goal here was to show support of the theory, but, more importantly, show to the audience how everyday media coverage fits the criteria for this theory.

The construction of this research paper is high quality for several reasons.  The first reason is organization.  A good research paper has good organization and a common flow that is easy to understand.  I start with the history of the theory. I establish what the theory is and I use that established knowledge as a base to all of the examples and additional information for the rest of my paper.  I introduce the idea of selective attention in the first paragraph and I reference it later when I talk about framing and priming, which is aimed at audience with a specific attentiveness to a certain media item. My research paper also uses a diverse amount of sources and support material that gives multiple opinions while also increasing the depth of the theory.  During the process of research I found an article that talked about faming and priming as a part of the agenda setting process that goes unseen.  These sources provided better examples to the theory and gave my paper a different perspective on the theory.  It one thing for the theory to say that media influences the public, but it’s another to say the media tells the public what to think about.  Several of my sources that I cited talked about how framing and priming tell the audience how to feel about a certain topic, rather than letting the audience generate feelings on their own.

The execution of this message was complete with no grammatical errors and a detailed look at the theory.  Research papers are meant to bring more insight on a subject.  I did that in my paper by providing personal examples, academic examples and presented parts of the theory that are less known.  My paper remained knowledgeable throughout by explaining things like framing and priming that are not as prominent in the original theory.  Also, my research was thorough by introducing different hypothesis from other parts of the world.  This segment of my paper looks at similar situations not just in the U.S. but in media all across the world.

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