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Conventions of Analytical/Argumentative research writing:
Assignment: You will be performing a semiotic analysis of a music video (or Loving Vincent) (your choice). You must convince your reader (me) of your position. Using your notes from class, write a FORMAL argument supporting the position you chose in class.
3 page minimum/5 page maximum. You must include a thesis statement, intro, body and conclusion. Double space, MLA format
Remember to use the proper MLA header (name, class, etc.). This is FORMAL: no I, We, Me, You, Us, or contractions.
You will also be graded on punctuation and formatting.
Semiotic Analysis of Music Video
1. Study the artifact (Music Video): Look carefully at its signs, its goals, and its meanings. Ask in a general sense: What is this artifact’s meaning?
2. Unpack the artifact: identify between 3 and 5 significant signs using Saussure’s terminology.
3. Perform initial analysis: For each sign, identify the signifier and signified.
4. Identify the underlining myth or myths present in the video.
6. Propose ideology: Draft a brief sentence that offers an attitude or advocates an action related to the theme (e.g., wealth is good, beauty requires youth, authority is necessary).
7. Prove that the ideology does not exist just in the music video. You must prove that the ideology exists within society or other mediums.
8. Organize this section around how the three signs support the ideology. In each subsection (or separate paragraph, should page length allow), relate a significant signifier to a signified that correlates to the proposed ideology. Thus, an artifact that includes an American Flag (sign) might concentrate on the red stripes (signifier) that evoke courage (signified). Explain how the relationship between the three signs supports the underlying ideology.
9. How do the patterns of signification in the video articulate social codes about things such as power, race, class, gender, respect, or authority?
10. Develop conclusion paragraph: Summarize your three signs and ideology/mythology. Be brief and specific in your summary. Wrap up with a few sentences on implications that answer the "so what" question. Consider the following questions. So what have we learned from this analysis? What kind of world is evoked by this ideology? What does the ideology fail to reveal about ways to live in the world?
**There is no one correct way of explaining the systems of meaning-making in the music video; writing a good analysis involves some imagination as well as accuracy. Keep it short, but spend some time working on it. It will be easy to fill up a page or two with random comments about the music video, but difficult to provide comments that are illuminating, precise, and thorough.
**Remember that semiotics is a way to explain how things mean, not what they mean. Don't just provide a laundry list of things you notice about the music video. Use the terminology and principles from class).
Need help? Reach out for a Research Appointment with a librarian.
Critical Studies in Media Communication (18 month delay)
Communication/Critical Cultural Studies; (18 month delay)
Journal of Communication. (12 month delay)
The JWU library has two style guides:
However, if you need more in depth guidance on formatting go to the Purdue OWL.
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