Appendix 8 (Chapter 7)
Computational Analysis Directions
Long Paper: Interpreting Strategic Discourse Assignment Overview
In a 7-10 page paper, students will conduct a computational analysis of the Internet Research Agency’s propaganda campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Students will be expected to draw on computational, cultural, tetradic, platform, or algorithmic methods of analysis in concert with other critical perspectives developed in the class. This is a group paper with your “coding team.”
Tips for Success
Draw on the collaborative research that we did on the Internet Research Agency’s background, available at goo.gl/qnNVTB
Your group is likely most familiar with the 80 advertisements you coded, but you do not have to limit yourself to those advertisements. You might, though, click on some of the prominent tags that your group identified to see examples of that tag across the dataset.
Consider drawing on some of the analysis done by MITH (soon to be available on the site) and some of the other tools to analyze the data (e.g. the ad spending data tool).
Although the primary focus should be on the methods of rhetorical criticism that we’ve learned in the last part of the class (computational, cultural, tetradic, platform, or algorithmic), feel free to supplement with the methods of textual and visual analysis that we learned earlier.
The paper should be organized into four main “moves” (which do not have to be equal in length, and should not have “subheads”). The page approximations are suggestions—do not feel bound by them.
Description of Artifact(s). Introduce the artifact. In this case, you’re likely to be assembling multiple texts—tell us why you have selected these texts. Why is it a significant, rich, or provocative “text” to analyze? What is the context of its origin and circulation? ~1.5 pages.
Description of Research Question and Method(s). Unlike the other papers in this course, this paper should be driven by a central research question that your group wants to answer. What is the question related to in the dataset that you want to know the answer to? We will work in discussion sections to help you develop strong research questions. Explain the method(s) you are using to analyze the artifact, drawing from any method that we have discussed throughout the course. Think about what method of analysis is needed in order to answer your research question. ~1.5 pages.
Interpretation of Artifact. Use the method to analyze the artifact. Look to the questions that usually appear at the end of lectures as prompts for your analysis. However, do not treat those questions as a “formula” for analysis—be inventive in your interpretive process. ~3 pages.
Evaluation of Artifact. This is the moment where you exercise your judgment as a critic. Based on your analysis, what kind of judgment can you issue? What does this artifact tell us about our culture? ~1 page.
Format: 7-10 double spaced pages, Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1 inch margins. No games.