RONALD REAGAN is my Candidate
individual paper analyzing one example of political communication by their candidate.
➢ The paper should be 4 to 6 typed, double-spaced pages long. The format may be any
currently accepted or accredited style (i.e., A.P.A. or M.L.A.). It does not matter which
style students choose, but it must be used correctly and consistently throughout the
paper. Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual is strongly recommended.
➢ In this paper, the student will (1) select a text delivered by their candidate, (2)
choose a political communication concept or theory that we have learned about in class,
(3) research and describe that concept or theory by finding at least three sources outside
of class readings, and (4) apply that theory or concept to the candidate’s text.
Possible topics of the paper include:
A candidate’s announcement speech.
A candidate’s acceptance speech (accepting the party’s nomination).
A candidate’s debate performance.
A candidate’s concession speech.
A speech in which a candidate is surfacing.
A candidate’s inaugural speech.
1. Selecting a text.
Each student will choose a political text presented by their team’s candidate to a public
audience. This may be a speech, a piece of campaign literature, a fundraising letter, a page on
a website, or an ad, to give some examples. Things to consider when choosing the text
the team presentation will be a collective effort, the papers are individual works.
Each student on the team will select a different text by the same candidate.
text should illustrate one of the theories or concepts that we have learned in class; in
the paper each student will research and describe a theory or concept of political
communication and then apply that theory to the text they have selected.
length of the text is not as important as its “significance.” The better question to guide
you is: “Will I be able to apply a concept or theory we have learned in class to this artifact?”
text must be available in written form (such as a text of a speech, a downloaded
webpage, or a script for an ad).
will also have to reproduce and turn in a copy of the text that they use along
with their paper.
addition to the campaign websites of their candidates, students may want to check the
following website for texts:
American Rhetoric http://www.americanrhetoric.com
2. Finding research sources.
Once you have selected a text, you need to find at least three sources outside of class readings
on the political communication theory or concept that you will use to analyze the text.
first avenue to try is footnotes or bibliographical information in your readings for
class. Trent, Friedenberg, and Denton have extensive notes on the sources they cite. If you see
a source that interests you in these notes or bibliographies, look it up! It could be a source
that you can use, and any source will also have its own footnotes and bibliographical
find research in the communication field, go to the Alkek Library website. Click on
“Research Databases” under “Quick Links” and then click on “Communication &
Journalism” (under the listing “Databases by subject”). The best database listed is
“Communication Source from Ebsco.” Once in that database, you can search by author,
topic, or title for literature that relates to your paper.
database that can be helpful is “JSTOR.” Go to “Research Databases” under
“Quick Links” and then click on the letter J at the top of the page.
academic journals that have articles on political communication include:
Quarterly Journal of Speech
Southern Communication Journal
Western Journal of Speech Communication Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Presidential Studies Quarterly Communication Monographs Communication Studies
COMM 4345 | Political Communication Paper & Presentation Assignments | Page 3
3. Writing the paper.
In the first part of the paper, students will explain one theory or concept
explaining an aspect of political communication that has been covered in the class readings or
lectures. In explaining this concept in the paper, students may draw on sources already read
or discussed in class; in addition, each student must examine at least three sources outside of
class material to explain this concept thoroughly. This part of the paper should be about 2-3
student will then analyze her or his text according to the theory or concept
explained in part one of the paper. In applying this theory or concept to the text, the student
is using it to answer the questions, “Was this text successful (or not)? How (or how not)?”
This part of the paper should be about 2-3 pages long.
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