Ommunicating in a Virtual World: The Research Paper

Essay #3: Communicating in a Virtual World: The Research Paper
Purpose: Human beings have always been social animals. Now that technology surrounds us, however, the nature of human interaction and community has altered. This assignment asks you to explore how communication technology (e.g., the internet and cellular phones) affects the ways in which individuals interact in social and cyber realms, and how this, in turn, changes the way we interact face-to-face. Using the analytical and interpretative skills we have been developing in this course, you are expected to move beyond the assigned readings and conduct research to support a thesis-driven research essay. You will also be expected to write a proposal that discusses the scope of your essay and mentions the research you have conducted.
Reading (These articles are from Next Text):  Growing up Online, by Bruce Bower; Bower explores how the internet offers many meeting places for teenagers to explore their identity, find important information, and make emotional connections.  R We D8ting, by Sandra Barron; Barron describes a dating relationship (from beginning to bitter end) that she had with someone mostly through text messages. She exposes the limits of text messaging by showing that it is easy to misinterpret what is being stated, yet she cannot deny that it is convenient and addictive.  Community: From Neighborhood to Network, by Barry Wellman; Wellman discusses how technology has extended social networks and modified the way we form communities.
Research: In addition to the assigned readings for this unit, you are expected to find at least three additional sources, whether they come from an article, essay, or book. The upcoming modules for this unit will explain how to conduct research, and how to determine what sources are acceptable and which are not considered valid for academic purposes.
Topic: Communication technology has dramatically changed the ways in which individuals interrelate. For example, the internet and cellular phones have made it possible to communicate with someone without ever having any physical contact with them, which can have some negative outcomes. On the other hand, experimenting with identity online can allow people safe outlets to express themselves.
Writing Task: Since it seems like there is no going back, it is up to you to evaluate the impact that all of this new technology has had on the social lives of humans. After constructing an argument that takes a stance on this issue, write a thesis driven essay of 7-10 pages (using as much of your research as possible) that addresses the following prompt:
Analyze how communication technology affects human interaction.
In thinking about this topic, consider the following tips:
” Be sure to force yourself into coming up with an argumentative thesis by converting the prompt into a yes/no question. For instance, ask yourself: Do you think communication technology has a positive impact on human interaction? Why or why not? Do you feel like humans are too reliant on communication devices? Why or why not? Do not forget the rationale!
” When discussing technology, make sure you stick to technology that relates to communication: talking about your uncle s new bagel toaster might not be fully relevant.
” Likewise, make sure you discuss how this specific type of technology affects human interaction. For instance, talking about how you are overwhelmed by all the information surrounding you might not be relevant. However, if you mention that this hurts the way you interact with people because you are continually distracted, then you will have made the connection.
” In a way, you are an expert on this issue; feel free to mention communication technologies that you are familiar with, such as iPhones, Facebook, etc. But also make sure to describe them in enough detail so that an uninitiated reader can follow along, without resorting to mere summary and description that does not support a larger argument.
Directions: Having conducted research in the library and on the internet, you should organize sufficient information and material to help develop your ideas. You should develop a clear thesis as you do your research, and you should be able to support this thesis with quotations and information from your research and the required readings. Use MLA format to cite your sources and format your paper: 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double spaced, etc. And do not forget to include a Works Cited page!