**A book review is NOT the same thing as a book report.**
At some point in your life, you have very likely completed a book report. (Perhaps you did one in middle/high school. To Kill a Mockingbird, anyone?) A book report is generally written with the goal of giving an overview of the plot, highlighting main ideas and describing the characters. A book review, on the other hand, should not be concerned with summary but should— similar to your article critique assignment— offer a critical evaluation of the text as academic work.
See the list of book options below. You should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the book and situate the scholarly merit within the field of communication and media studies and at the intersection of social science writ large. This assignment is an analytical examination of the purpose, thesis, methods, justification and general analysis of an in-depth, long-term research study.
The review should be critical and evaluative, not merely descriptive. It should be in your own voice and injected with your own experiences and opinions throughout; you must, however, offer rational evidence and support for these opinions. How can you relate to the work, personally and professionally?
In APA style, and within ~ 3-5 pages, this review should (not necessarily in this order):
1.) Offer some biographical information about the author. Who are they, and what fields of study do they represent? What information is given about the author in relation to the research they have undertaken? (e.g. identity? subject position? ethos?)
2.) Identify the author’s main purpose statement and goals for the work.
3.) Highlight the research questions undertaken for the study. Which media, communication, or popular culture phenomena is the researcher attempting to investigate?
4.) Explain the interpretive or scientific approach for the study. What specific theory and literature form the conceptual framework for the research? How does the author relate her own epistemological/theoretical perspective to the design and framework?
5.) Detail the methodological choices for the research.
6.) Make overarching connections to larger themes and topics discussed throughout our course. Compare and contrast this work to Hanson and Kidd’s perspectives and the approaches of other scholars and texts we have read, watched, and discussed.
7.) Evaluate whether or not the book achieves the previously outlined goals. Where does it succeed, and where does it fall short? How could it be improved? Who can benefit from this research? Most importantly, SO WHAT? What can this work add to the overall body of knowledge and to the disciplines in which it is situated?
Hill, E. (2016). Never Done: A History of Women’s Work in Media Production. Rutgers Press.
Irani, L. (2019). Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India. Princeton University Press.
Joseph, R. L. (2018). Postracial resistance: Black women, media, and the uses of strategic ambiguity. NYU Press.
Kraidy, M. M. (2016). The naked blogger of Cairo. Harvard University Press.
Murray, S. (2018). Bright Signals: A History of Color Television. Duke University Press.
Pham, M. H. T. (2015). Asians wear clothes on the Internet: Race, gender, and the work of personal style blogging. Duke University Press.
Phillips, W. (2015). This is why we can’t have nice things: Mapping the relationship between online trolling and mainstream culture. MIT Press.
Potter, S. (2019). Queer Timing: The Emergence of Lesbian Sexuality in Early Cinema. University of Illinois Press.
Pugh, T. (2017). The queer fantasies of the American family sitcom. Rutgers University Press.
Reagle, J. M., & Reagle Jr, J. M. (2015). Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web. MIT Press.
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