In this assignment I would like you to write an analytical research report on media coverage of a
science topic. Such topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Space tourism
• Carbon capture
• CRISPR technology
• Global science policy
• Climate science
• Pharmaceutical chemistry
• Microbiomes and health
• Viral transmission
This assignment is meant to teach you skills in critical thinking, knowledge integration, research
and writing. You will demonstrate your ability to notice, explain and assess features of media texts
which will help you build your critical reading and thinking skills.
You may choose to focus your assignment on Canadian media, on another country’s media, or
international media. You may also do a cross-cultural comparison. Such media may include: TED
talks, written news outlets, televised news outlets, podcasts, documentary media etc. You should
gather no less than 5 articles of media coverage
Report structure: (this should look similar to a scientific paper)
1. Introduction: describe what is at issue with your topic.
2. Methods: A media/rhetorical analysis examines how and why an author chose to write a text
the way he/she has. Such an analysis answers the following questions:
a) Who is the target audience of and the potential motivations for writing the text?
b) What are the persuasive qualities of the structure of a text and its compositional techniques
and figures of speech?
c) How do the authors establish credibility?
d) What can you tell about the audience of this media? How do the authors work to connect with
and persuade them?
e) What is the main argument and how is it supported? What sorts of evidence do the authors
f) What are some specific examples of the authors using appeals to ethos, pathos, logos, and
mythos in the text?
g) How is the text ordered? How does that organization impact the argument?
h) What style and tone choices do the authors make? How do those choices influence the impact
of the argument?
In your media analysis you should assess the means by which the author has tried to influence or
persuade readers. You can do this by describing how you searched for relevant media coverage
on this issue: explain the scope of your search; keyword strings; criteria you used to select the
articles in your review. In your essay outline how the author featured the topic. For example, you
could start by identifying the author’s main thesis, his/her purpose in writing this piece and his/her
intended audience. Next, you could explain the stylistic features of the text, the reason for their
use and the extent to which they are effective writing/broadcasting strategies. Make sure not to
simply summarize the rhetorical strategies the author uses often, but assess the extent to which
they are compelling and effective.
3. Results: report what emerging themes and trends you found within the media coverage with
respect to the thematic/substantive content of the articles; the tone of the article; the position(s)
taken on the issue; the use of science to inform the article; the objective(s) of the article.
4. Discussion: discuss how the issue of your topic is being communicated in the media; what
message(s) is the general public getting about the risks and benefits of the technology/science;
what general issue the science is meant to address; the governance of this scion ce (who is
responsible for regulating it and how well or poorly is it being governed); who may benefit from
the science and who is at risk; the extent to which the media coverage on this issue based on fact,
and how can you tell if the scientific sources are credible and legitimate?
5. Conclusion: summarize your results and discussion, and provide some thoughts on how the
media might be affecting how the general public perceives your science topic.