Fantasy Assignment: Media Research Methods Course

I say fantasy because it’s a wicked awesome first assignment for Prof. Shannon Mattern’s graduate course (from years ago) that draws out the student’s intelligent reflection with personal insight with intellectual interests.

I mentioned before, I am thankful for coming across Shannon Christine Mattern’s site and hope to take a class from her one day.


Part 1: Intellectual Autobiography: 10%.

Before you commit yourself to a research project, it’s a good idea to reflect on what brought you here, to graduate school, in order to better understand how your personal history shaped the paradigms and perspectives that you bring to media studies. At the same time, it is important to project yourself into the future, to ask yourself where you want to be five, ten, twenty years from now.

In a three- to five-page double-spaced paper, consider the following questions: What are your intellectual and creative histories, and how have those intertwined histories led you to grad school? What intellectual or creative models have most profoundly impacted your development? Think about favorite authors, media creators, teachers, classes, schools of thought, etc. What are your intellectual and creative interests within the field? What media-related questions and problems excite you? What do you want to study, what would you like to learn, to enable you to follow those intellectual and creative interests? What theories, learning models, and modes of presentation (written, auditory, visual, etc.) do you feel most comfortable with? What contribution – intellectual, political, creative, etc. – do you want to make to the field?