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Instructions for the Social Commentary Term Paper Minimum 1650 words —Full instructions and guidance begins on p. 3, but read pp. 1-2 first— Overview of assignment: The Social Commentary paper is a combination of critical thinking and research. However, only the second section, “Discussion of the Social Issue,” requires any research. In fact, no other outside information should be used in any of the other sections, just your ears and your brain. 1500 words, minimum. *NOTE: quoted material (lyrics, sources), headings, titles and references are not counted as original writing. In that light, you should aim for a total of roughly 1650+ words. The writing and review process : There are five* sections to the paper: 1. Introduction 2. Discussion of the Social Issue 3. Comparison of Songs 4. Music/Lyric Connection 5. Conclusion * Main written sections, the 6th section is References (see below). This paper will be written in three stages before the final submission is graded by your instructor. Each of these stages undergoes a self assessment AND peer assessments on Canvas by you AND the other members of your group. After these three stages, you will submit the final paper to through Canvas, using the link found in a folder Upload Links to TurnItIn . Only then will it be read and graded by your instructor. This gives you some freedom to affect changes, like swapping out one or both songs, or even change your original social issue to another. The self review process is an important step, as you learn a lot by being critical of your own writing, guided by a survey, specifically designed for each of the stages. Assignment workflow for self/peer-assessment : 1. First you will write sections 1 and 2, the Introductory Paragraph and the Issue Discussion . Each student will submit these two sections (as a single document) to the Files tool of their Group on Canvas (see syllabus for more information on groups). Once submitted, each paper will be self-reviewed AND peer-reviewed by all other members of that group using the provided online survey. (Your instructor will post each survey link as necessary). After each assessment is completed, the results from that survey go directly via email to the student who was the subject of the survey. 2. The second part you will write is section 3, Comparison of Songs . The process for assessment and rewriting will be the same as for the previous Introductory Paragraph and the Issue Discussion. This should be the single largest section of the paper, therefore it should be in multiple paragraphs. 3. The third part you will write are sections 4, 5 (and 6) the Music/Lyric Connection and the Conclusion (plus References). The process for assessment and rewriting will be the same as for the first two stages. 4. Upon completion of the three peer reviews and subsequent rewrites, the Completed Social Commentary term paper can be assembled and edited. Remember that the already completed Music 187: Social Commentary/Activism in Music – Instructions sections of the paper must be included in their correct places in the final paper which will be submitted to through Canvas (your instructor may choose a different place or method for submission) 5. Your instructor will grade the paper and post the grade on Canvas. At that time you may opt to meet with your instructor for clarification and explanation of your earned grade. (Cont. below) 2 of 9 pages Music 187: Social Commentary/Activism in Music – Instructions Instructions for Writing Social Commentary Term Paper – Comparison & Opinion: 1650 words Assignment In this paper, you will choose two songs, each from a different artist (or band), preferably from a different genre, and compare how they address a single topic of broad social interest (social issue). Nature of Assignment This is a formal writing assignment, requiring a lot of critical thinking, third-person declarative prose AND some research (sources). Critical thinking: about what the songs have to say on the issue. Third-person declarative prose: Writing as a declaration of a truth or truths, without reference to self nor reader (no “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” “you,” or “your”). Sources: 2 minimum (described below) for the social issue discussion, that you are required to include in a bibliography, and cite at the points they are used in the discussion of the issue. DO NOT use an artist’s song/performance video as a source for discussion. Social Issues Issues of broad concern such as, the environment, natural or manmade disasters, child welfare/abuse/neglect/molestation, domestic violence, rape, abortion, gang violence, class warfare, war, terrorism, propaganda, politics, national image, military service, religion*, racism, racially-motivated violence, slavery, human trafficking, materialism, among others, are acceptable. In some cases, songs of a more personal nature are acceptable if they speak to a broad audience. Topics such as mental illness, loneliness, drug or alcohol abuse (substance abuse) would fall into this category. Generally speaking, songs about love, sex, cars, the joys of rock and roll, or sports are not acceptable. Topics so general as to include everyone, like death, should be covered from the standpoint of the issues surrounding it; survivors dealing with a loved ones death, or views on the after-life are acceptable. When in doubt, consult your instructor. *There are songs in any given faith whose purpose is to connect to the faithful (ex. hymns, worship or praise songs, liturgical singing). These would be inappropriate. Songs that address various issues surrounding faith would be appropriate. NOT ACCEPTABLE as an issue – Music, music business, artists, groups, genres or any historical perspective on music used to protest or bring attention to things. This is where a few students misinterpret the title of this assignment (without reading these instructions) and assume that this paper is on the subject of social-commentary music. It is not. It is about two specific songs that are centered on one specific issue. 3 of 9 pages Music 187: Social Commentary/Activism in Music – Instructions INSTRUCTIONS Selecting your songs – Choose two songs that have the same social condition or issue at their core. They do not have to take the same position, or even have a position, but it should be fairly evident that the same issue is embodied in both. Further, the two songs should be written or performed by different artists, each from a different genre of popular music. Other than introducing an artist as “hard rock” or “hip-hop,” no further discussion of genre need ensue. If you are unsure, you should ask your instructor. (see list below of songs to never use) Songs NOT to use – Don’t use songs whose scope is so broad as to touch on many issues and not really center on a single issue. Any song that attempts to point out all the world’s problems and/or solutions to them is unsuitable for this paper. The following are examples, though not a comprehensive list. Some songs have just been overused. USING ONE OF THE SONGS BELOW WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC 20% REDUCTION OF THE TERM PAPER GRADE. Any song used in the Understanding the Music/Lyric Connection module or tutorial video “Alyssa Lies” – Jason Michael Carroll “Changes” – Tupac “Courtesy Of the Red, White and Blue” – Toby Keith “Face Down” – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus “Heal The World” – Michael Jackson “If I Ruled The World” – Nas “Imagine” – John Lennon “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem/Rihanna “Real People” – Common “War” – Edwin Starr “We Are The World” – USA For Africa (Jackson, Richie, et al) “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye “Where Is The Love” – The Black Eyed Peas “Words I Never Said” – Lupe Fiasco Structure – Your paper will be divided into five sections each with a heading in bold-face . (Use bolded headings below, an explanation of each follows) All sections of this paper will be submitted on Canvas for peer review using the procedure and sequence described above. (See course schedule for due dates.) 4 of 9 pages Music 187: Social Commentary/Activism in Music – Instructions Sect. 1- Introduction Sect. 2- Issue Discussion Sect. 3- Comparison of Songs Sect. 4- Music/Lyric Connection Sect. 5- Conclusion Sections 3 & 4 will each be more than one paragraph long, while section 2 may be one or two. Avoid long and unstructured paragraphs . Sections 1 & 5 should be a single paragraph. Follow content guidelines below for each section: 1) Introduction This is the opening paragraph. It should be concise and to the point, while giving the reader a good sense of what they are about to read. Avoid giving the reader too much detail here. Include the following: a. introduce topic issue , being as clear as possible to identify or define the issue. If you cannot name the issue in four words or less , you may need to refine it. Do NOT get into specifics here, one statistic reference, max, if any. b. introduce the songs and the artists , including album references and release years (see class text appendices B & C for text formats of song and album titles.) c. include a statement for each song describing its connection to the issue, without going into detail. Briefly describe the story or narrative of each. Simply claiming that the songs deal with an issue is inadequate. d. a reference to a relationship between music & lyrics (ref. to Sect. 4, Music/Lryic Connection) Since there will be a section of the paper on this critical thinking element, there should likewise be a reference to it. e. A strong thesis – central point to be borne out in paper. The thesis is a clearly defined statement of intent, which includes the salient points that will have been addressed in the paper. Your thesis should be a summary idea, not a question or a list of what you are going to write about in the paper. Imagine having already written the paper and creating a single sentence statement defining what the reader should expect to learn. If it seems like a challenge, you are doing it right . 2) A discussion of the social issue – more than just your opinion or general knowledge. This is where your 2 (or more) sources come in. Here you can describe the issue in more detail, separate from the songs’ discussion of it . You are expected to demonstrate critical thinking here. Simply pasting in some text from a website does not constitute original thought. You will be evaluated on how well you synthesize what you have gleaned from your research. Regardless of how other disciplines cite sources, we expect a citation referencing the bibliography, every time you quote or otherwise use information from that source. (FYI-This is NOT the case for lyrics, see discography below) This section should NOT be longer than sections 3 or 4 paragraphs. If it is the longest section, then you have missed the point of the assignment. 5 of 9 pages Music 187: Social Commentary/Activism in Music – Instructions 3) A comparison of the songs and their respective takes on the issue, whether it is an outright strong position, or a declarative, matter-of-fact approach. Keep in mind that the SONGS are ultimately the subject of the paper. Though the two songs have the same social condition or issue at their core, they do not have to take the same position, or even have a position. It should be fairly evident that the same issue inspired both. NOT ACCEPTABLE: Any discussion of the artists’ motivation/inspiration for writing or recording the song. We are ONLY interested in what the lyrics have to say (to you) on the issue. a. Effective use of lyric quotations is key to helping the reader make the connection to the subject (see below for information on citing lyrics). Long blocks of lyric, however, or entire verses are seldom necessary and are often cumbersome. If you feel the entire chorus is germane to your argument, then at least break it up into digestible parts, with some discussion inserted. Use sufficient lyric quotes to bring the reader into the song, but not so many it dilutes their potency. b. “Comparison” in this assignment means specific, direct, side-by-side comparison of the ideas at hand. You will lose a minimum of a full letter grade if this discussion is not integrated. 4) Describe the Music/Lyric Connection. A minimum two examples per song explaining how the music supports/enhances the meaning of each song (four total examples). Please see section below, * Examining the Music/Lyric Connection, as well as the “Understanding the Music/Lyric Connection” folder on Canvas and the accompanying streaming musical examples. 5) Conclusion – wrap up the main thoughts of your discourse; show the reader that the thesis was proved out. A strong conclusion is critical to a successful paper. Ancillary Parts 6) Discography A discography of albums used for your papers is required , and should include the name of the artist/group, title of album, record company, year, and catalog number (usually found on the thin edge of the cd case – on either end.) (see example format below). This should be on a separate page at the end of your paper, or it may appear after the bibliography on the same page, but DO NOT mix discography and bibliography sources, keep separate and label as such. ** The source for the lyrics is the song itself , NOT a website that publishes them. Therefore the reference is in the discography . Cite only the albums from which your songs come (see explanation below) . The discography acts as a blanket reference for all lyrics quoted, with no citation marks required in the body of the paper. Put another way; It is not plagiarism to copy lyrics off of a website and not cite it BECAUSE it is not the original source, the CD is. As long as you have a discography, quote away! Discography – finding the info: BUT WAIT – “ My songs are downloaded/streamed online.”- or – “I don’t have the 6 of 9 pages Integrate the discussions of how each song addresses the issue throughout this section. DO NOT discuss songs separately. Music 187: Social Commentary/Activism in Music – Instructions physical disk the songs are from. ” If you do not have the original CD cover, you will have to research to find the information required. If you know the record company that released the song/album, you can find the catalog number on the company’s website (you do not need to cite the website, however) . If you do not know the record company and/or the album title, a good source is . If it is a popular artist, you can go to a music retailer and copy the info off the CD spine. Example: Miles Davis, Bitches Brew, C olumbia Records (1969), G2K 40577 (please notice: no song title – because the song is like a chapter in a book, which is likewise no


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