Write an essay that analyzes a documentary film’s portrayal of a topic related to your major and then compares that portrayal to what scholars in your discipline write about the topic. Use Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
English 302 Dr. Koch
Instructions: Essay 2 – Documentary Film Research Project in Major
1250-1750 words (approximately 5-7 typed double-spaced pages)
Note: This project will be developed into a 2000-2250 word (approximately 8-9 page) essay for Essay 3.
For this assignment, you will
analyze a documentary film as a primary source
situate an issue in academic scholarship
write an academic essay according to conventions of your discipline
Write an essay that analyzes a documentary film’s portrayal of a topic related to your major and
then compares that portrayal to what scholars in your discipline write about the topic.
Choose a topic that lends itself to a complex and sophisticated analysis. Avoid overdone
topics, and topics that do not have multiple perspectives.
Determine . . .
A specific topic in the documentary. The topic must be related to your major.
The main message the documentary conveys about your topic.
Documentary techniques that help to convey this message.
Messages about your topic by scholars from peer-reviewed articles or books. Look for
points of agreement and disagreement among scholars about your topic.
The rhetorical situation of your documentary and of each scholarly article, such as
purpose, audience, socio-historical context, presentation of evidence, etc.
English 302 Dr. Koch
Use an academic format: identify your topic, film title, and approach. Example: “From Exploitation
to Self-Reflection: Representing Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities in Richard Cohen’s Hurry Tomorrow”
See other examples of titles on Blackboard under “Research Project Overview”
Introduction and Thesis
Name the documentary, director, and year released.
Provide a two-sentence description of the documentary.
Identify your specific topic, and describe its appearance in the film.
Explain the relevance of the topic to your discipline.
End the paragraph with your thesis, which may be more than one sentence. The thesis should state
(1) the documentary’s message about your topic and techniques used to convey it; and (2) the
position(s) of scholars on this topic. Your thesis should make a claim about the documentary’s versus
scholars’ representations of the topic. It should also be arguable and specific.
Analyze (1) how and why your topic is portrayed in the documentary, (2) how and why your
topic is portrayed in academic scholarship, and (3) how the documentary portrayal compares to
Analyze film techniques that help to convey the documentary’s message.
Explain how your topic is portrayed in peer reviewed sources. Consider points
of agreement and disagreement among scholars.
Include many detailed examples of techniques from the documentary and claims/evidence by
scholars. Use an appropriate number of quotations.
Integrate the quotations into your writing: introduce each quotation, and then follow up by
explaining its connection to your point. Properly cite all quotations, using MLA or another
format specified by your major.
Organization and Writing
Write cohesive paragraphs that are organized by points. Provide strong topic sentences.
Use formal, academic language that demonstrates advanced college-level writing.
Your bibliography must contain at least seven sources: six of the sources must be peer reviewed
articles or book chapters by scholars that are related to your topic; one source will be your
documentary, your primary source.
Use MLA or another format specified by your major.
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