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Meaning of the Arts: PHIL 0847 / 0947

a guide to research sources

Film Assignment

For this assignment, you will write a two to three page paper on film (or TV series), using it as a jumping off point to explore one of the theories or topics we have been studying. You will find the goals of the assignment and the directions below. Good luck!

The goals of this assignment are to:

  • Develop basic research skills
  • Apply a theory or develop a topic we have covered in the course readings and the classroom
  • Practice citing sources

Before selecting your film...

  • Do some preliminary research using the library databases below to see what kind of information you can find on different themes, topics, and films.
  • Start with the database Film & Television Literature Index. There you will find many different kinds of sources related to film, including film reviews and scholarly articles.

Search Tips

Identifying Films

Citing Sources

Film and Media Arts Articles

Ways to Write About Film

What kind of film writing are you working on?  There are many ways to do scholarly writing about film.  Some include:

  • formal analysis
  • film history
  • ideological analysis
  • industrial analysis
  • auteur
  • national cinema and cultural studies

Try some of the resources below to learn more about the kind of writing you're doing.

Beware: Perfect Article Syndrome

Don't fall into the trap of looking for the "perfect article" that answers your research question or explicitly states the same thesis you are working on.  Instead, you are looking for articles that represent a wider academic discussion in which your paper will become an additional voice.  You can find articles that provide context, that you will argue against, that offer evidence to support pieces of your argument, that provide examples, that reinforce common ideas or introduce new ideas.  When searching, this means being willing to explore topics that are much broader than your paper topic, or only connected to it in one or two ways.  This also means being willing to explore related topics that aren't exactly the same as what you are working on.  For example, a useful article might be about a different film than the one you are writing about, but deal with some related perspectives or concepts.