English 2100 Fall 2015
Research Paper Assignment
In our last assignment, we worked with differing critical perspectives on film, TV, and games, focusing on the development of our own opinions or arguments. In this assignment, we continue to work with arguments and differing critical perspectives and we continue to develop our own opinions, but now we also incorporate research as evidence.
Choose a film, TV show, video game, work of visual art, novel, short story, poem, or song (basically, any art form) that claims to represent a true story. In a research paper of 8-9 pages, convince your reader that the film or other artwork you choose misrepresents some significant aspect (or aspects) of the historical events it claims to depict. Events in recent history count.
Your paper should consider why historical accuracy matters (or doesn’t matter) in whatever art form you choose. How does the work rewrite history? Do you think people believe its version of the story is true (as in “Capital-T Truth”)? What motivates the inaccuracies? Were the filmmakers misinformed, trying to make the story more exciting or concise, or did they have some sort of political agenda—or all of the above? Why should we care about the film’s inaccuracies or about the fact that its particular version of history reaches a large audience?
As you research and consider which sources to use, you should think (hard) about reliability and credibility. What makes a source credible? What are the author’s qualifications? Good qualifications can range from traditional expertise (like fancy degrees and professional titles) to close proximity to events (like eyewitnesses). In what publication does the writing appear, and does it give you any hints about a source’s reliability? Does the publication have any standards for fact-checking, accuracy, or other means of quality control? Does the author or the publication consistently produce work with a significant bias? What motives or interests—political or otherwise—might influence the author’s characterizations?
Minimum of 10 sources, including at least:
3 primary sources
1 scholarly article from a peer-reviewed journal
3 print sources not available on the internet
These can overlap; for example, if you use 3 print primary-source books that aren’t available on the internet, you’d satisfy all 3 of those requirements (but you’d still need a scholarly article).
Examples of films and TV shows you could use:
Steve Jobs, Lincoln, Pocahontas, The Queen, JFK, Shakespeare in Love, Braveheart, Gladiator, Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth, The Patriot, The Impossible, American Hustle, Marie Antoinette, The Blind Side, The Social Network, The Tudors, Reign, Cleopatra, Ray, The Doors, Straight Outta Compton