Assignment 1

MS 152 — Television Authorship
Assignment #1: Short Paper

Your first paper assignment asks you to write a 4-5 page polished essay (i.e., not a first draft!) thoroughly analyzing a key scene from Homicide in the context of the series’ broader narrative dynamics; you may choose to explore this scene in comparison to the book, or in relationship to earlier police procedurals.

This assignment has several stages designed to guide you toward producing that polished essay:

1. Preliminary Proposal — due Monday, September 21

Each of you should post to the blog a paragraph naming the scene from Homicide on which you think you want to center your analysis, and the ways that you expect that analysis to lead you. Nothing in this proposal is cast in stone — you can change the scene or the method as you work — but it is instead designed to get you some early feedback as you start working.

This one-paragraph blog post is *in addition* to your regular reading response. Please title the post something that identifies it as your paper proposal, and use the “proposal” category.

2. Draft — due Monday, September 28

The first draft of your paper — a full and complete draft — should be turned in to your Sakai drop box by 5 pm. You will also exchange drafts with a partner in your discussion group who will be responsible for giving you feedback on the draft. I will comment on your drafts as well, but with 36 of you in the class, the depth of my comments will of necessity be limited.

For this reason, you must take this peer-review process seriously, both for your own paper and for that of your peer-review partner. More information in the next stage.

3. Peer review — due Monday, October 5

Each of you should both have your draft reviewed by a partner in your group and serve as the reviewer of your partner’s paper. (In groups with odd numbers, you can rotate papers — A reviews B, B reviews C, C reviews A. You’re also free to exchange papers with all members of your group, if you so choose.) You’ll be turning in a copy of your peer-reviewed paper, with your partner’s comments, with your final draft, and the quality of your comments on their paper will form part of your group work grade for this semester, so take this seriously.

In reviewing your partner’s paper, focus on ways that they can clarify their overall argument, as well as specific points where their analysis might be deepened or strengthened. Restate the paper’s central thesis for the author — it’s often a surprise to the author to find out that a reader doesn’t take from the paper exactly the meaning that had been intended. Indicate specific places where transitions can be improved or where ideas can be clarified. Overall, you should focus on helping the author make the paper as interesting and clear as it can be.

I would ideally like all of you to make these comments in electronic form, using the comments function in Microsoft Word; this way the commented version can be uploaded to Sakai with the final draft. Along which lines…

4. Final draft — due Monday, October 12

Your final, revised draft should be uploaded to your Sakai drop box (along with the commented, peer-reviewed version of your draft) no later than 5 pm on October 12. This final version should be flawless, both in terms of its analysis and in terms of its presentation. Any and all typos, misspellings, and grammatical problems should have been dealt with in the review process. Papers whose meaning is obscured by such errors will be returned ungraded, and will be considered late until corrected.

The paper should be 4-5 pages, double-spaced, in a 12-point serif font (i.e., Times New Roman or its equivalent), with 1-inch margins. All quotations and borrowings must be appropriately documented and cited.

If you have any questions about this assignment, at any stage, please come see me.