Major Research Paper
Part 1: Proposal and Preliminary Annotated Bibliography
Part 2: Final paper
Instructions for Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography
The proposal component of this assignment is to both get you thinking about your final
paper early in the term and to provide an early opportunity for you to get some feedback
on your ideas. Its job is to provide a basic outline of what you intend to do in your final
paper, and should contain three basic elements of information:
1) provide a clear outline of your paper’s topic including your proposed research
question (i.e., describe WHAT your paper will be on),
2) indicate why it is a significant and worthy topic of investigation (i.e., explain WHY
this topic is appropriate and important with respect to this course), and
3) provide an outline of how you intend to organize and carry out your investigation
(IOW, provide a brief preliminary outline of your final paper) by introducing the
examples or case studies you will use to illustrate your argument (i.e, explain HOW
you will organize your paper).
Your annotated bibliography should have 2 scholarly sources, none of which are assigned
as course readings (you can use course readings as sources for your final paper, but NOT
for the proposal). Each bibliographic entry should provide (1) a properly formatted
bibliographic entry (APA style, preferably), (2) a brief summary of the source, and (3) a
brief description of how it is appropriate to your chosen research topic. Each annotation
should be between 1/3 to 1/2 a page, double-spaced.
** Please note that the 2 scholarly sources requirement is for the proposal ONLY. Your
final paper will require AT LEAST 5 more sources. **
Suggested Research Topics
1) Explore the history of a particular form of creative aural practice and explore its
connection to related visual practices. For e.g.
• phonography or DJ-ing as a cultural form
• acoustic architecture
• sound poetry
• the development of multi-channel audio installations
• sound design for film, video, gaming, theater, television, etc.
2) Explore the work and ideas of a particular artist whose work engages both sound
and visual media practices (e.g., someone who does sound design for video games,
films, etc.). Make sure to discuss and contextualize their work historically and
theoretically. What makes them a significant artist to consider?
3) What are some intersections between sound (or visual) art as a “high” cultural
practice and related or similar applications in the realm of popular culture? For
example, how might you relate the radiophonic work of John Cage to that of
Scanner? Are there grounds to compare the Dadaist collage art of John Heartfield
and the music of Negativland? Can we compare the music videos of Director X to
experimental film or videomakers?
4) Compare the sound practice of a given communication medium in two or more
cultural, social or historical contexts. What do the differences say about changing
social or cultural attitudes towards the intersection of sound and vision? For e.g.,
• How does the approach/treatment/practice of sound in Indian cinema differ
from American (or Chinese, Italian, or French, etc.) cinema?
• How does sound of contemporary theater differ from the theater of
• How is sound used differently in Chinese versus English (or any two other
cultures) theater? What might these differences tell us about different
cultural attitudes and awareness of sound and visuality?
Any comparative analysis must also go beyond simply describing the differences
between the two countries, periods, etc. and explain HOW such differences speak
to different cultural attitudes towards film and film sound.
5) You may develop your own topic on the intersection of sound and visual media.
Should you choose to do so, you are encouraged to check with me beforehand
during my weekly office hours to get feedback on whether your topic is appropriate
for this course.