Your Task is to Observe the News to Collect Empirical data on the Current Social Problems of Your Society
Over the next few weeks,
Watch the Nightly National News
(CBS, NBC, ABC), at 6:30pm locally,
for the 1/2
hour news broadcast on three (3) separate, nonconsecutive occasions. For best results, watch or record the
TV news program, though, if that is unfeasible, you may use an
alternative form of media,
i.e., newspaper or internet
). Be observant.
The information collected is the Empirical Data that
YOU will analyze.
Record and Make Notes on every News Item (see below example)
. These are your “field notes”
Be sure to note
any statistics or relevant “facts” discussed during the news
At the top of the 1st page of the typed Research
Report/Summary, clearly list all 3 of the news events or data sources you reviewed
Use the following format: EXAMPLE
Monday, March 6, 2008 NBC
6:30 Tom Brokaw (Channel 5).
My example of “field notes”: Monday, March 6, 2000
6:00 Tom Brokaw (Channel 5, Dahlonega)
1) Decision 2000
eve of super Tuesday, Bush leads McClain, McClain bigger is smaller, northeastern states.
Polls can’t be trusted. Dirty tactics by Bush with Anti
McClain ads, he filing complaint.
2) Now for Democrat Battle. Gore is far ahead of Bradley. Instead, Gore is focusing on taking on Bush on issues like campaign reform
and health insurance.
Health care and economy
As you watch and collect data,
Begin to Critically Question the information you collected.
Then,write down at least five questions that you have about the news you have watched
Suggested questions are:
Are there some reoccurring problems? What are the leading stories? Which of
The news items are considered social problems? WHY? What type of problem is it: health, economic, etc.?
Do the problems presented affect a significant number of people or a number of significant people?
Based on the commercial: Who watches this stuff? Are wealthy, white men more likely to watch? Why?
Why don’t they
talk about “real” news? Do they socially construct their version of reality?
What’s the “spin?”
Do these social problems reflect any personal troubles, as Mills would suggest? Tell me why? What social problems or personal troubles are: not being discussed, glossed over, or dramatized?
YOUR Collected News data:
Type Up Your Research Report, a summary in which you will:
a)Select YOUR THREE Most Serious Social Problems you think exist today and briefly tell me why
You think the topics you selected are to be considered “serious social problems”.
Use the criteria for a social problem
does this “behavior or condition” affect a significant
number of people or does it affects a number of significant people, or both);
provide any statistics, scientific findings, or results of public opinion poll
s (their data) stated
broadcast (and from text) that might substantiate your argument;
finally, make note of and discuss the suggested “conditions, causes, consequences, or constructions”
offered by the media. Or, not
After thinking about the data you collected,
Select One of the Social Problems, THIS IS YOUR SOCIAL PROBLEM THAT YOU believe warrants the most public concern and is in need
Tell me why? Try to apply each of the three
sociological perspectives (SF
, and SC) to the problem
to help you better understand the many
dimensions of the problem
After Dissecting the
One Social Problem that you think is the biggest, baddest, or warrants concern
Discuss Previous or Current Solutions for Your Problem that may have failed;
TRY to Propose New
and Better Solutions
that would “prevent, alleviate, or cure” the problem.