Essay Tips What is Not Required…



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Essay Tips

What is Not Required…

What is Not Required…

  • The purpose of the essay is not to prove you have memorized what we’ve gone over in class.
  • You don’t have to summarize in the introduction the concepts or terms you use in your essay:
    • Semiotics is…
    • Space is…
    • Aura is…
    • Etc.

You can use terms from the starting gate!

  • You only have to coherently use the terminology, theory, etc., not necessarily explain it.

You can use terms from the starting gate!

  • You only have to coherently use the terminology, theory, etc., not necessarily explain it.
  • Only explain it if it helps your essay.
    • For example,
      • Walter Benjamin’s concept of aura is commonly discussed in media theory. Benjamin defined it as… A contemporary new media theorist, Jay Bolter, has revisited the concept of aura and disagrees with Benjamin on several points…

The Introductory Paragraphs are the most important.

The Introductory Paragraphs are the most important.

  • Introduce the essay, your essay, what will you be talking about and why.

The Introductory Paragraphs are the most important.

  • Introduce the essay, your essay, what will you be talking about and why.
  • Immediately set up your study or argument.

The Introductory Paragraphs are the most important.

  • Introduce the essay, your essay, what will you be talking about and why.
  • Immediately set up your study or argument.
  • Do not be too general, focus on your precise topic.

The Introductory Paragraphs are the most important.

  • Introduce the essay, your essay, what will you be talking about and why.
  • Immediately set up your study or argument.
  • Do not be too general, focus on your precise topic.
  • As a caveat, if you start with a quote or anecdote that is fine, but in your first true essay paragraph have an introduction.

Who is your audience?

  • Your undergraduate peers in class?
  • A New York Times reader?
  • Hard Science Academics?
  • Humanities/Cultural Academics?
  • Mainstream videogame players?
  • Women, men, minorities, etc.

Choose an Essay Objective

Choose an Essay Objective

  • Objective argument
    • Weighing facts from both sides, but in the end falling on one side or another, or perhaps not.
  • Biased argument
    • Based on an ulterior motive you frame the argument so the side you favor seems most logical

Choose an Essay Objective

  • Objective argument
    • Weighing facts from both sides, but in the end falling on one side or another, or perhaps not.
  • Biased argument
    • Based on an ulterior motive you frame the argument so the side you favor seems most logical
  • Exploring or surveying media with theory

Choose an Essay Objective

  • Objective argument
    • Weighing facts from both sides, but in the end falling on one side or another, or perhaps not.
  • Biased argument
    • Based on an ulterior motive you frame the argument so the side you favor seems most logical
  • Exploring or surveying media with theory
  • Playing with theory itself more than examining media with it.

Be Aware of Your Style

  • Casual
    • Be careful of making dubious claims just because you are using a comfortable style

Be Aware of Your Style

  • Casual
    • Be careful of making dubious claims just because you are using a comfortable style
  • Formal/Academic
    • Be careful in maintaining coldness and objectivity.

Be Aware of Your Style

  • Casual
    • Be careful of making dubious claims just because you are using a comfortable style
  • Formal/Academic
    • Be careful in maintaining coldness and objectivity.
  • Journalistic

Be Aware of Your Style

  • Casual
    • Be careful of making dubious claims just because you are using a comfortable style
  • Formal/Academic
    • Be careful in maintaining coldness and objectivity.
  • Journalistic
  • Avantgarde

Be Aware of Your Style

  • Casual
    • Be careful of making dubious claims just because you are using a comfortable style
  • Formal/Academic
    • Be careful in maintaining coldness and objectivity.
  • Journalistic
  • Avantgarde
  • Consistency
  • Consistency
  • Consistency

Styles: Casual vs. Formal

  • If you are casual, be imaginative, exploratory, anecdotal
    • Barthes in Camera Lucida
  • If you are formal, format your essay to support that approach, use sections, definition paragraphs, diagrams, graphics.
    • Chaim Gingold in “Miniature Gardens & Magic Crayons: Games, Spaces, & Worlds”
  • If you blend formal and casual see Zizek in Looking Awry, or online on YouTube, etc.

Styles: Casual vs. Formal

  • If you are casual, be imaginative, exploratory, anecdotal
    • Barthes in Camera Lucida
  • If you are formal, format your essay to support that approach, use sections, definition paragraphs, diagrams, graphics.
    • Chaim Gingold in “Miniature Gardens & Magic Crayons: Games, Spaces, & Worlds”
  • If you blend formal and casual see Zizek in Looking Awry, or online on YouTube, etc.

Styles: Casual vs. Formal

  • If you are casual, be imaginative, exploratory, anecdotal
    • Barthes in Camera Lucida
  • If you are formal, format your essay to support that approach, use sections, definition paragraphs, diagrams, graphics.
    • Chaim Gingold in “Miniature Gardens & Magic Crayons: Games, Spaces, & Worlds”
  • If you blend formal and casual see Zizek in Looking Awry, or online on YouTube, etc.

Graphics and Diagrams

Graphics and Diagrams

Graphics and Diagrams

Use Images in the Text

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Don't be afraid to make serious claims…

Don't be afraid to make serious claims…

  • …but be aware when you are making them.

Don't be afraid to make serious claims…

  • …but be aware when you are making them:
  • “Space is the most important factor to consider when designing games.”

Format Issues

  • Essay Format
    • Title
    • Name
    • Footnotes
  • File Format
    • Not rtf
    • Docx
    • Doc
    • PDF

Title is Vital

  • Compare:
    • “”
    • “Space and Representation”
  • Versus:
    • “Forking Paths and Carrie Fisher”
    • “World of Filmcraft”
    • “The Evolution and Meaning of Symbols in America”
    • “Space as Action”
    • Spatial Representation: The Natural Representation of Hyper-Realistic Spaces”
    • “Success and Failures in Transcoding Signs”
    • “Race as a Media Construct”
    • “Race, as Viewed through Media”
    • “Technology, Spaces, and Human Interaction”
    • “Religious Symbols in Public Spaces: A Semiotic Analysis of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Cross and the Wren Chapel Cross”


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