Brock University

Student Handbook and Essay Writing Guide

Introduction to the Department

Department structure
Student representatives

Marking Principles

Grading Standards
Written Work
Marking Schemes
System of Numerical Grades

Departmental Policies

CPCF Video Library Policy
Video Equipment Use and Loan Policy


Essay Style Guidelines

Expectations governing written assignments
Style guidelines for written assignments
General Presentation
Reference conventions
Notes on Writing
Notes on Proofreading
Citation guidelines
When to use citations
The Quotation
Parenthetical Notation in the Text
The Works Cited Page
Sample Passages with Works Cited
Academic misconduct

Theses and Directed Reading Courses

The Thesis: who should write a thesis or do a directed reading?
Finding a Supervisor
Specifics on the Thesis



The Department of Communications, Popular Culture and Film (affectionately known as CPCF) is growing and evolving so rapidly that anything we say about it now may be out of date almost immediately. Our programs and courses cover a wide range of topics and approaches, but they all focus in one way or another on aspects of the communications media that are vital to contemporary society.


Department structure

The Department is part of the Faculty of the Social Sciences and reports to the Dean of Social Sciences. Within the Department there are three academic Programs: Communications Studies, Film Studies, and Popular Culture. The Communications Studies program includes four streams: Business Communications, Communications Policy, Information Technology, and Media and Culture. We are also introducing Co-op programs in all of these areas and are planning an MA in Popular Culture. Please see the Undergraduate Calendar for details of academic requirements.

The overall administration of the Department, budgets and planning are the responsibility of the Chair who is appointed on a rotating basis and normally serves for a period of three years. Academic counselling and curriculum matters are handled by the Undergraduate Advisor who is also normally appointed for a three year term.

The business of the Department is conducted at meetings of the Department Committee which consists of all full-time and cross-appointed faculty, all continuing Department technicians, a part-time faculty representative, and two student representatives (one representing Communications Studies and one representing Film and Popular Culture).


Student representatives

Student reps look after student interests at meetings of the Department Committee. They take a full part in the decision-making processes, keeping students aware of new developments and informing the department of student concerns.

Nominations for representatives are made during the first week of classes in March. The elections must conclude no later than the last week of classes. Voting is by closed, anonymous ballot.

Students nominated to serve as student representatives must be majors or combined majors in the academic unit(s) for which they are nominated (Communications; Film Studies/Popular Culture) and must have completed at least one course in that unit. Likewise, only students who are majors or combined majors may nominate and vote for student representatives in their unit.

Student representatives are responsible for attending Department meetings and for keeping open the lines of communication between students and faculty. They should be available to help students with problems or questions and inform them of news, Department policy, or changes that might affect them. The representatives may be appointed to other Department committees as necessary. If a student representative is unable to fulfill these duties, the Chair may recommend to the Department committee that new elections be called or that a temporary replacement (not to exceed three weeks) be appointed.

A student representative unable to attend a Department or program meeting may send a replacement provided (1) that the substitute will be a non-voting observer; (2) that advance notice is received by the Chair; and (3) that the substitution is announced by the Chair at the beginning of the meeting.




The final grade awarded in a course shall be determined on the basis of the goals and requirements established for that course. Grading standards are established appropriate to the level of the course, as indicated by its course number, rather than to the level of the student.


Written Work

An A paper is written with verve and clarity. It displays a curiosity, a control of knowledge beyond what was covered in class, an original insight or an extrapolation beyond class work. The student will demonstrate an ability to develop an independent and well-organized line of argument.

A B paper presents a valid case competently or shows a good understanding of the topic but lacks either the independence or organization of an A paper.

A C paper is the record of a valiant struggle to make a case or to keep up with material and skills demanded by the topic. It is frustrated by confused prose or organization, or by lacunae in the argument.

A D paper is incompetently expressed, organized, or conceived, with only a limited or intermittent grasp of the topic or awareness of the skills and principles of analysis.

An F paper is devoid of grammar, logic, and critical method, and may have only a nodding acquaintance with the topic assigned.


Seminar Participation

The A student will have prepared well-thought-out approaches to the topic in advance of the class, and is prepared to engage in a probing and coherent discussion on the topic. She/He will participate regularly and eagerly, with an ear for the contributions of others and an eye on the parameters imposed by the topic.

The B student will have prepared the topic and will contribute regularly but without the insightful relevance that characterizes the A student's responses.

The C student will participate infrequently and/or display only a general knowledge of the material, frequently losing focus on the topic.

A D student will infrequently demonstrate knowledge of the topic assigned and will rarely extend the discussion. She/He will pass because of regular attendance and an occasional valid contribution.

The F student will rarely attend or will attend irregularly with rare contributions, and/or show little or no grasp of the course material.



Unless otherwise indicated by a course instructor, the following guidelines apply to all assignments given in the department:

  • The penalty for a late assignment is a grade deduction of 5% per day, beginning the day following the assignment's due date.
  • The weekend counts as one day.
  • The assignment will not be accepted if it is more than two weeks late.
  • If an assignment extension is granted, for an appropriate reason agreed to by the instructor, and the student does not submit the assignment on the extension due date, the same 5%-per-day late penalty will apply.

Marking Schemes

Each course has its marking scheme declared for the year in the fall. Students are not assigned extra work for bonus marks. In some cases a student may volunteer for extra work, either for no credit or by advance arrangement for credit in lieu of some formal assignment in a course. No bonus marks are given to anyone outside the marking plan announced for the course.


System of Numerical Grades

The following scheme is used for final grades submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Letter Grade Numerical Grades

A —  80, 82, 85, 88, 90, 92, 95,98,100

B —  70, 72, 75,78

C —  60, 62, 65,68

D —  50, 52, 55,58

F —  0, 2, 5, 8, 12, 15, 18, 22, 25,28, 32, 35, 38, 42,45

IN (Incomplete) —  This is a temporary grade assigned to a student who because of exceptional circumstances, for reasons satisfactory to the Department, has been unable to complete some part of the term work in a course in time to have it graded by the instructor for inclusion in the final mark. This grade must be accompanied by a numerical grade and will automatically lapse eight weeks after the last day of the examination period, and the numerical grade will stand, unless both are replaced earlier by the instructor.

IP (In progress)  — This grade can be used only in fourth-year thesis courses. If the IP has not been lifted within twelve months of the initial registration in the course, the student must re-register and pay the appropriate course fee.



Students are entitled to inspect their final examination papers. Questions regarding final grades should first be discussed with the instructor. In the event of a disagreement between a student and an instructor, representations should be made first to the Department Chair and then, if necessary, to the university committee on Petitions and Appeals




CPCF Video Library Policy


1. All archive materials are for research and course use only. Materials are not available for personal entertainment or for use by students in non-FILM/PCUL/COMM/DART/VISA courses. CPCF students will have priority when the viewing rooms are heavily booked.

2. Archive materials may be viewed only in the CPCF viewing rooms. Viewing room access is normally available only to students in 200-level courses and above in preparation for seminar and essay assignments. Students must indicate on the booking form the course for which items are required.

3. Students may not view videos instead of attending the regular lab screenings in their courses. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be given permission to make up a missed screening. Such permission must be in writing and presented to the Coordinator at the time of the booking.

4. Students must determine the number of the required item by consulting the CPCF database. The database may be searched in the Coordinator's office (AN 309) during posted office hours.

5. Viewing rooms and videos must be booked on the appropriate form 24 hours in advance and in person (between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm). The Coordinator will not look up tape numbers or book rooms over the telephone. Last minute requests cannot be accommodated.

6. A viewing room may be reserved for no more that two hours between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Room keys and tapes may be picked up from the coordinator during office hours. Keys must be signed for by the student booking the room. Tapes and keys should be returned immediately after use.

7. Students may make evening and weekend bookings with the prior permission of the Coordinator. During the lunch hour, after 4:00 pm, and on weekends, special arrangements will be require for collecting room keys and tapes. Weekend bookings must be made by the preceding Thursday at 4:00 pm.

8. In the event that the Coordinator's office is closed when students are returning items, the tape and the key should be dropped in the box outside the Coordinator's office door.

9. Under no circumstances may videos be taken beyond CPCF viewing rooms or course seminar rooms. Personal or home use of tapes will result in loss of borrowing privileges.

10. Failure to use tapes or viewing rooms when booked denies other students access to these scarce resources. The Coordinator should be given 24-hour notice of cancellation of bookings. Missed viewing room bookings, frequent cancellations, or failure to return keys and tapes promptly will result in loss of borrowing privileges.

11. It is the student's responsibility to take proper care of archive materials and viewing equipment. Videos should be rewound or cued and returned to their containers. Users may be charged for damage caused by negligence or loss.

12. Failure to abide by these rules or use of the archive and viewing rooms for illegitimate purposes will result in loss of borrowing privileges.


Video Equipment Use and Loan Policy

  1. The Department video cameras and editing equipment are for the use of students in production courses homed in CPCF. Other use of this equipment is restricted to CPCF courses and Spring Festival subject to the approval of the Chair.

  2. Before a student can have access to either cameras or editing facilities, he/she must take an instruction workshop which will be offered when demand warrants, or at the beginning of each term. For those already familiar with the equipment operation, approval is still necessary. Either the supervising faculty or Film Technician can approve such requests.

  3. All users are required to have a card on file with the Film Technician indicating for which equipment the student is approved.

  4. Program or Department need will occasionally override all others, when no alternative equipment is available as may be the case when a lecture, performance or workshop needs to be videotaped.

  5. The cameras and accessories will be booked and signed out during the regular academic year by the Film Technician and returned to him/her. Bookings, pickups and drop-offs may be made during the Film Technician's office hours or at a mutually agreed upon time.

  6. . All equipment malfunctions must be reported immediately to the Film Technician.

  7. The editing equipment is available only during the hours specified by the Department. Editing time must be booked through the Film Technician. Time restrictions on the editing equipment will be applied, if necessary, when the facilities are under heavy use. Consideration of others' needs must be taken into account when booking. Advance bookings are strongly recommended.

  8. Keys to the editing suite must be picked up during the Film Technician's office hours prior to the booking or at a mutually agreed upon time. When edit booking is complete the key is to be locked in the edit suite unless otherwise specified.

  9. Students must normally notify the Film Technician 24 hours in advance if they are unable to pick up or return the equipment or use editing time as previously booked.

  10. Failure to abide by any of these guidelines may result in a suspension of borrowing privileges. In some cases students who fail to respect these procedures may be subject to grade deductions.




Expectations governing written assignments

Every assignment given by an instructor in the department will have its own set of research requirements and analytical demands. Nonetheless, there are basic elements that are necessary to complete any university paper successfully – be it a critical essay, a theoretical exploration, or a research report.

There are two basic models which can give a paper a formal structure. These are:

  1. thesis model – the author stakes a position on a given issue, and then proceeds to argue for the validity and reliability of that position.

  2. process model – the author sets out a hypothesis that addresses a given issue and a research program designed to test that hypothesis. The author then proceeds to describe how that research unfolded and draws conclusions based upon the results.

In either model, the author must craft an argument that draws upon the available evidence for support. The essay model that you adopt should be consistent with the nature of the assignment you have been given. All questions regarding this choice should be referred to your course instructor.

Regardless of the essay model used, all papers should reflect the following:

  1. All papers should have an introduction which establishes the basic issue to be addressed and – in very general terms – the approach which the author will take to this issue.

  2. All papers should have a clear conclusion – one which summarizes the author's findings and arguments, but introduces no new research findings.

  3. All papers should be organized in a logical fashion. Each paragraph of your paper should be understood as a step on a journey taking your reader through your research and conclusions. Ensure that each step is clear, such that your reader can easily follow you from point to point, sentence to sentence, and paragraph to paragraph. The links between your ideas should be transparent.

  4. Remain focused on the issue at hand. Consider each piece of information you encounter for its ability to advance and/or challenge your argument. Do not use information that is tangential to your purposes.

  5. Be selective in your use of data. When discussing any relevant text, do not provide a summary of its contents. Rather, explain only those elements which pertain to your argument, in sufficient detail to carry your argument. By the same token, you should not wilfully misrepresent your data or use arguments or quotations out of context.

  6. When discussing any text, your task is analysis – not evaluation. Whether or not you enjoyed a particular text is not at issue in most assignments. More important is that text's structure, function, and/or meaning ... and your interpretation of such things.


Style guidelines for written assignments

Our department brings together researchers from several disciplines, each with its own traditions in scholarly writing. For consistency's sake, the department has adopted a set of guidelines that will apply across all streams. That said, in the writing of any specific assignment, it is expected that students will meet the expectations of their professor.


General Presentation

  1. All papers should be printed on white, standard letter paper (21.6 x 27.9 cm).

  2. Use only one side of each sheet of paper.

  3. Have margins of 2.5 to 3.5 cm on all sides.

  4. Printer fonts should appear in 12-pt type, and lines should be double spaced.

  5. Number all pages after the title page.

  6. A good title page will have the following components: your name, an informative essay title, the course title, and your section number.


Reference conventions

The title of a periodical, book, sound recording, or broadcast series should appear in either italics or underlining – but not both (and, whichever you choose, be consistent).

The title of a poem, song, short story, article, book chapter, or broadcast episode should appear in "double quotation marks."

Two types of titles should appear unchanged: the titles of sacred texts and the titles of websites, electronic databases, and electronic subscription services.


Notes on Writing

A portion of every assignment grade is based upon your ability to convey ideas and construct arguments in a clear and precise fashion. This is best demonstrated through writing skills and style.

  1. Professors often frown upon the use of the personal voice in scholarly writing. When in doubt, ask your professor for his or her specific preference.

  2. Select words for their ability to convey your ideas with precision. Avoid the use ofslang, unnecessary jargon, or contractions.

  3. Ensure that pronouns are consistent with the nouns they replace.

  4. Ensure that verb tense remains consistent from sentence to sentence.

  5. Ensure that the meaning of each sentence is clear and precise.

  6. Each paragraph should begin with an indentation from the left margin.

  7. Paragraphs should not be separated by a blank line.


Notes on Proofreading

  1. Proofread.

  2. Spell-checking programs in word processing software are useful, but they will not catch all spelling mistakes. In particular, they cannot tell when you have inserted a properly-spelled word in an incorrect spot, as may happen when one accidentally uses "there" for "their," or "lead" for "led." You must proofread your writing manually.

  3. Put aside a finished paper for a day or more before proofreading. Often, a writer can overlook problems when he or she is too familiar with the work.

  4. Read your paper aloud. If a sentence is awkward to the ear, there is a good chance that it is grammatically unsound.


Citation guidelines

Scholarly writing can be a form of personal expression that draws upon one's own imagination and experiences as much as it does upon careful analysis and research. That said, a writer must acknowledge the contributions made by previous scholars, if only to note how his or her work builds upon and/or differs from them. In this respect, citations are crucial. It is through citations that a writer indicates the source of every fact, idea, or argument that he or she has drawn from other scholars.

The standard citation style for the department is parenthetical notation, and this system should be used unless you are otherwise instructed by your professor. Parenthetical notation asks you to place a short citation in parentheses – (like these) – at the end of each passage containing material drawn from other authors. This short citation should then refer your reader to a "Works Cited" page, where you will provide a full bibliographic reference for every source cited in the body of your text. This "Works Cited" page should appear at the end of your paper.

The department's use of parenthetical notation is based upon the format developed by the Modern Language Association. The following sections offer a very general description of when and how to use it. For a more detailed discussion, please consult the most recent editions of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or the Chicago Manual of Style.


When to use citations

A citation must be provided in each of the following situations:

  1. following any direct quotation taken from a source.

  2. when repeating any idea or argument taken from a source, even if that idea or

    argument has been paraphrased in your own words.

  3. when repeating any obscure facts taken from a source – for example, statistics or potentially controversial statements.

Failure to cite sources when using this kind of information constitutes a form of plagiarism and will be dealt with under university guidelines. Further information on this subject may be found in this handbook in the section on Academic Misconduct.


The Quotation

Quotations are often used in scholarly writing. They are used best when a researcher cannot find the words to express another author's ideas any better than the original author. This may occur where the original author has crafted a particularly apt turn of phrase, or where a certain precision is required – as occurs with technical definitions. If neither of these situations holds – if you can express the idea of the original author faithfully in your own words – then you should do so, and not use the direct quotation.

Points to keep in mind when using quotations:

  1. Brief quotations should appear in double quotation marks (").

  2. Long quotations (let's say, as a rough guide, those of 35 words or more) should be indented from the normal margins of your page, and appear without quotation marks.

  3. Quotations that appear within quotations should appear in single quotation marks (').

    For example:

    Unfortunately, Dicks's dialogue in the novelization is limited by the quality of the original teleplay. Consider the following rivetting exchange: "The Black Dalek's voice was triumphant. 'The Daleks have discovered the secret of time travel. We have changed the pattern of Earth's history.' Defiantly, the Doctor said, 'You won't succeed, you know. In the end you will always be defeated'" (1979: 104).

  4. A parenthetical note should appear after the closing quotation marks, and before the final punctuation mark. For an example, see above.

  5. All quotations should make sense within the flow of your own writing. In this regard, all pronouns and verb tenses in a quotation should be consistent with the sentences that surround it.

  6. Any changes you make to a quoted passage must be noted immediately. If you drop any words, this must be indicated with an ellipse (that is, three periods), as such: ... If you change any words, the new words must appear in square brackets: [ ].

    For example, take the following passage:

    Again and again, we were collecting the same story about poor, usually rural backgrounds, about very hard exploitation and training during apprenticeship; about moving from village to town, from town to city, and city to Paris (of course this last feature was to be expected) (Bertaux and Bertaux-Wiame, 1981:187).

    It could be rendered as follows if quoted by another author:

    Bertaux and Bertaux-Wiame write that, "Again and again, [they] were collecting the same story about poor, usually rural backgrounds, about very hard exploitation ... during apprenticeship; about moving from village to town, from town to city, and city to Paris ..." (1981: 187).

  7. A quotation should be introduced into the flow of your own ideas with reference to its original author and/or context. It should never stand on its own. For example, the following construction should be avoided:

    John Milton believed that an author's work captured the essence of the author's soul. "They preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them" (Milton, 1644: 5).

    Instead, the following construction would be more informative:

    John Milton believed that an author's work captured the essence of the author's soul. Writing in defence of a free press, he argued that books "preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them" (Milton, 1644: 5).


Parenthetical Notation in the Text

The intention of any citation style is to provide clear and precise directions to the sources used. Consistency is the key. A standard note should always include the author's name and the year that his or her work appeared. Note that "the author" may be an individual writer (or group of writers) or a corporate entity, such as a major corporation. A simple note might appear as follows:

(Hall, 1995)

(CRTC, 1997)

If the author is mentioned by name in the text of your sentence, then the citation may be shortened to just the year:

Hall (1995) has argued that ....

In a recent decision, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (1997) suggested ....

Where more than one author is responsible for a source, the citation may be shortened by substituting the words "et al." for the second and subsequent names:

(Leiss, Kline, and Jhally, 1986)

(Leiss et al., 1986)

When two or more sources are cited to support the same point, they should appear in the same parenthetical note separated by a semi-colon:

(Hall, 1995; Leiss et al., 1986)

If the author's name is not known, then the title of the source should be used instead:

("CRTC has new plan," 1998)

When specific facts, ideas, or quotations have been taken from a text, its citation should also include the relevant page number:

(Hall, 1995: 261)

("CRTC has new plan," 1998: B3)

When a passage taken from a source is itself a quotation taken from a previous document, then the original author should be given credit as follows:

James Carey has advanced Raymond Williams's ideas with approval. Carey agrees with Williams that, "the study of communications was deeply and disastrously deformed by being confidently named the study of 'mass-communication'" (Williams, quoted in Carey, 1988: 40).

Where two sources can be confused, additional information must be supplied to ensure clarity. For example, if the same author produced two works in the same year, letters may be used to flag the difference; these letters must also be used in the "Works Cited" page:

(Hall, 1995a)

(Hall, 1995b: 261)

A piece in a continuing series – such as a newspaper column or a website feature – may be distinguished with reference to its specific date of appearance:

("Recommended Reading," 26 June 2000)

("Recommended Reading," 10 July 2000)

Another alternative appears in the sample passages at the end of this section of the handbook.

Parenthetical notes for broadcast programs should follow this format:

(title of program or series, "title of individual episode," date of transmission)

Precision is desirable with dates of transmission, particularly with event programming. For example:

(Seeing Things, "Seeing the Country," 1985)

(The 88th Grey Cup Game, 26 November 2000)

If the name of the series or show appears in the sentence preceding the note, then the note can be abbreviated.

"Seeing the Country" ..... (Seeing Things, 1985).

The 88th Grey Cup Game (26 November 2000) ....

Parenthetical notes for films should follow these three guidelines:

  1. they should be used only following the first reference to any film.

  2. they should immediately follow the title of the film, rather than appear at the end

    of the sentence.

  3. they should include the director's full name; the country of production or the production company; and the year of production.

Following these guidelines, either one of the following examples would be acceptable:

Exotica (Atom Egoyan, Ego Films, 1994)

Exotica (Atom Egoyan, Canada, 1994).

Note: any questions concerning the method to be used when citing films should be referred to your course instructor.

Note: a website address, or URL, should never appear in a parenthetical note. It should appear, however, with the full reference you provide in your "Works Cited" page.


The Works Cited Page

A good "Works Cited" page will provide your reader with enough information to identify and retrieve the sources you have used. In general, this means that you should provide all of the basic bibliographic data relevant to each source. One should also note the following:

  • the "Works Cited" page should start at the top of a fresh page.

  • each item listed should appear in alphabetical order.

  • each item should appear with "hanging indentation" – that is, the first line should begin at the left margin, while the second and subsequent lines should be indented – just like the entries in this list.

  • the page margins, font, and line spacings should be consistent with those used

    in the text of your paper.

For published sources, bibliographic data should appear in the following basic formats:

Book by one author:

Verzuh, Ron. (1988). Radical Rag: The Pioneer Labour Press in Canada. Toronto: Steel Rail Press.

Verzuh, Ron. (1988). Radical Rag: The Pioneer Labour Press in Canada. Toronto: Steel Rail Press.

Note: titles should be underlined or appear in italics, but never both. All examples following this one will appear in italics only.

Book with two editors:

Beale, Alison, and Annette Van Den Bosch, eds. (1998). Ghosts in the Machine: Women and Cultural Policy in Canada and Australia. Toronto: Garamond.

Book with editor, translator, or compiler distinct from author:

Habermas, Jόrgen. (1979).Communication and the Evolution of Society. Trans. Thomas McCarthy. Boston: Beacon Press.

Article in book:

Mazloff, Debra C. (1997). "Disciplining a Teammate: Control in Self-Managing Teams." In Beverly D. Sypher, ed.Case Studies in Organizational Communication, 2nd ed. New York: Guilford. 110-128.

Article in periodical:

Schultz, Tanjev. (2000). "Mass media and the concept of interactivity." Media, Culture, and Society, 22. 205-221.

Article where author's name is unknown:

"Web distributor gets longer sentence." (15 July 2000). Globe and Mail. A6.

"The Rankings." (26 June 2000). Marketing. 23-32.

Two or more sources by the same author:

Williams, Raymond. (1974). Television: Technology and Cultural Form. London: Fontana.

-----. (1977). Marxism and Literature. London: Oxford University Press.

-----. (1980). 'Advertising: The Magic System.' In Problems in Materialism and Culture. London: Verso. 327-335.

Note: if you have several titles by the same author, his or her entries should appear in chronological order rather than alphabetical order.

References to unpublished texts or interviews should provide as much information as is available, within the standard format. For example:

Lorenz, Stacy L. (2000). "Media, Culture, and Community: Canadians in a World of

Sport, 1870-1939." Paper presented to the Canadian Historical Association. Edmonton, Alberta.

Asper, Israel. (19 May 1991). President, CanWest Communications. Winnipeg: personal interview.

Computer-mediated communications have created their own set of challenges for the disciplined researcher. Some documents are created especially for distribution electronically, while others exist in hard copy but have been reproduced electronically. For sources that only exist in electronic formats, the following format should apply:

Name of author or organization responsible for document.

(Date that the specific document first appeared).

"Title of document." [if needed]

Title of website, database, or subscription service.

Number of the edition or version used [if relevant].

Date that source was accessed by you


If the name of the author is not known, then the title of the work should be used instead.


Collins, Ross F. (2000). "Cowboys and Cow Town: Newspapers in the Dakota Territory." Media History Monographs, 3 Website. Accessed 13 February 2000 <>.

"Academic Programs and Regulations." (2000). Brock University website. Accessed 17 July 2000 <>.

Sources that exist in hard copy but which have been accessed through a computer should be cited exactly as if the hard copy had been used, but with the following addition:

Title of website, database, or subscription service.

Date that source was accessed by you


For example, a periodical article culled from a database would be listed as follows:

Barnesley, Paul. (October 1999). "APTN launch a qualified success." Windspeaker, 17. 10. CBCA Fulltext Reference 1999 database. Accessed 19 July 2000 <>.

For sound recordings on vinyl, tape, or disc, the citation format should be:

Performer (may be either an individual or a group).

"Title of piece or song." [if relevant]

Title of album. [if relevant]

Production company and catalogue number of recording, year.

Example of a song packaged as a single:

Hendricks, Jon. "A Good Git-Together." (World Pacific 1283, 1959).

Example of a piece taken from an album:

Chemical Brothers. "The Sunshine Underground."Q – The best tracks from the best albums of 1999. (Q Magazine QMAGDEC 99-04, 1999).

Note: With electronic storage formats such as MPEG, individual performances are often divorced from their original context – that is, the full recording or album as released by the original performer. When recordings are acquired electronically by a researcher, production credits should always be traced back to the original context. For example, if you reference a song that you have downloaded from the internet, then you should track down its original source – the album on which it first appeared. If the song only exists in an electronic form, then you should cite it according to the citation format provided for the internet (see below). This would be necessary where some pop bands have used websites to post MPEGs of songs which have never appeared in hard copy – songs such as studio out-takes and live recordings.

A song downloaded from the internet would be listed as follows:

Hendricks, Jon. "A Good Git-Together." (World Pacific 1283, 1959). Napster.Com website. Accessed 14 February 2000 <>.

For broadcast programs on radio or television, the citation format should be:

Title of program or series: "Title of individual episode." [if relevant]

(Broadcaster, Date of transmission).

Country of production: Production company.


Iron Chef: "Octopus Battle." (The Food Network Canada, 2000). Japan: Fuji International


Seeing Things: "Seeing the Country." (CBC, 1985). Canada: CBC.

For films, the citation format should modified as follows:

Title of film..

(Name of director, year of production).

Country of production: production company.


Grosse Pointe Blank. (George Armitage, 1997). United States: Hollywood Pictures.

Exotica. (Atom Egoyan, 1994). Canada: Ego Films.

Films need not be included in the list of "Works Cited" unless the assignment requires you to provide more information than you can include in the text of the essay (see Citation guidelines above). If in doubt, ask your instructor.


Sample Passages with Works Cited

On the following page, there are two passages which offer examples of several different citation situations. The authors have cited a variety of sources, including unpublished conference papers, journal articles, books, and television advertisements. They have paraphrased the ideas contained in these sources and taken direct quotations.

It is worth noting the coding system the authors developed for the television advertisements. The authors examined almost 70 spots produced by five political parties, all during the same year. There were nine ads for the New Democratic Party alone. This would have rendered standard parenthetical notation somewhat awkward, since there would have been nine ads that could have been referred to as: (NDP, 1993).

In order to clarify their parenthetical notes, they used each advertisement's title rather than its sponsor's name. Then, to replace the date, they assigned each ad a number that included the party's initials and an "E" or an "F" – to indicate whether it was shot in English or French. Hence, the authors could identify each ad by its title, sponsor, number in the series, and production language.

The two passages are taken from:

Romanow, Walter I., et al. (1999). Television Advertising in Canadian Elections: The Attack Mode, 1993. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 33, 118.


[His] performance was portrayed as less than brilliant. These ads included two featuring photos that focussed on Chrιtien's facial paralysis, along with a series of critical voice-overs, the most damaging being "Jean Chrιtien – a prime minister?" ("Is this a prime minister?" PC23E) and "I personally would be very embarrassed if he were to become the prime minister of Canada" ("I'd be embarrassed," PC22E). ... These two ads had clearly overstepped the line of perceived fair play in Canadian politics, which historically has been more civil than that in the United States (Romanow et al., 1991). Progressive Conservative candidates and campaign workers had not been briefed on these ads and were ill prepared to deal with the storm of criticism that followed their entry into the campaign fray (White interview) ....

Taras, one of the few Canadian researchers to investigate the phenomenon, sees negative advertising as an attempt "to tarnish an opponent through ridicule or by a straight forward savaging of their character or record in office. The competence, motives, intelligence, and integrity of opponents ... [are] brought into question. The object is to draw blood, to inflict irreparable damage (at least for the duration of the campaign)" (1990: 219). Although some researchers have restricted the negative genre to ads that attack the candidate personally (Pfau and Burgoon, 1989: 53; Basham, 1994), research has demonstrated that in negative advertising issues and candidates as targets tend to be mixed and that direct attacks on a candidate's character alone are rare (Roddy and Garramone, 1988; Louden, 1990; Kaid and Johnston, 1991).

Works Cited

Basham, Patrick. (1994). "Going Negative in the Nineties: Still a Good Idea?" Paper presented at Canadian Political Science Association, Annual Meeting. Calgary, Alberta.

"Is this a prime minister?" (CBC, PC23E). Canada: Progressive Conservative Party.

"I would be embarrassed." (CBC, PC22E). Canada: Progressive Conservative Party.

Kaid, Lynda Lee, and Anne Johnston. (1991). "Negative versus Positive Television Advertising in U.S. Presidential Campaigns, 1960-1988."Journal of Communication, 41. 53-64.

Louden, Allan. (1990). "Transformation of Issues to Image and Presence." Paper presented at the International Communications Association Conference. Dublin, Ireland.

Pfau, Michael, and Michael Burgoon. (1989). "The Efficacy of Issue and Character Attack Message Strategies."Communication Reports, 2. 53-61.

Roddy, Brian, and Garramone, Gina. (1988). "Appeals and Strategies of Negative Political Advertising."Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 32. 415-427.

Romanow, Walter, Walter Soderlund, and Richard Price. (1991). "Negative Political Advertising." In Janet Hiebert, ed. Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing Research Studies: Vol.12 – Political Ethics: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Dundurn Press. 165-193.

Taras, David. (1990). The Newsmakers: The Media's Influence on Canadian Politics.

Scarborough, Ontario: Nelson Canada.

White, Jodi. (6 May 1994). Progressive Conservative Party member. Ottawa: Personal interview.


Academic misconduct

The following regulations are taken from the Brock University regulations for academic programs, and are also available on the Brock University website, as of July 2000 at //

Academic Misconduct

1. Definitions

Academic misconduct may take many forms and is not limited to the following:

Exams and Tests

  1. Impersonation of a candidate in an exam or test.

  2. Copying from another student, or making information available to other students knowing that this is to be submitted as the borrower's own work.

  3. Use of unauthorized material.

  4. Submission of a take-home examination written by someone else.


  1. Copying a laboratory report, or allowing someone else to copy one's report.

  2. Using another student's data unless specifically allowed by the instructor.

  3. Allowing someone else to do the laboratory work.

  4. Using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material in a lab report without acknowledgment.

  5. Faking laboratory data.


Essays and Assignments

  1. Submission of an essay written in whole or in part by someone else as one's own.

  2. Preparing an essay or assignment for submission by another student.

  3. . Copying an essay or assignment, or allowing one's essay or assignment to be copied by someone else.

  4. Using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material without


  5. The buying or selling of term papers or assignments.

  6. The submission of the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructors.

  7. Submitting whole or part of a computer program with or without minor modifications as one's own.

Individual instructors or Departments will point out areas of specific concern not covered above. Students should be encouraged to consult instructors in case of doubt.


Plagiarism means presenting work done (in whole or in part) by someone else as if it were one's own. Associate dishonest practices include faking or falsification of data, cheating or the uttering of false statements by a student in order to obtain unjustified concessions.

Plagiarism should be distinguished from cooperation and collaboration. Often, students may be permitted or expected to work on assignments collectively, and to present the results either collectively or separately. This is not a problem so long as it is clearly understood whose work is being presented, for example, by way of formal acknowledgment or by footnoting. Instructors should inform students what constitutes acceptable workmanship, proper form of citation and use of sources.

2. Procedures

Students shall not be penalized for suspected academic misconduct. It is the responsibility of the instructor to demonstrate the accuracy of the charge.

If the instructor can document a case of academic misconduct, the instructor shall inform the Department Chair and the Office of the Registrar; the latter will not process any application for withdrawal from the course pending the outcome of the investigation of the case. If a charge of academic misconduct is subsequently brought by the instructor, no withdrawal from a course shall be considered valid.

The instructor and the Chair together will interview the student, inform the student that he/she is being charged with academic misconduct and attempt to discover whether there are any extenuating circumstances. If upheld by the Chair, the case will then be referred to the appropriate Dean along with any necessary observations and/or recommendations from the Department. The student may, if wished, be accompanied to any interviews by one of the departmental student representatives or faculty, staff or student member of Brock such as, but not limited to, a representative from the Student Development Centre or the Student Ombudsman.

If the Dean is satisfied that a case of academic misconduct has been proven, he/she should inform the Office of the Registrar who, in the case of first offenders, will insert a permanent note in the student's file. The Office of the Registrar will inform the student in writing, of the action taken and outline the possible penalties for future infractions. The Office of the Registrar will note the transgression on the student's transcript in the case of second offenders. The notation will be removed from the transcript when the student graduates or three years after the last registration.

3. Penalties

A Dean who is satisfied that academic misconduct has occurred may impose the following sanctions:

  • oral or written disciplinary warning or reprimand

  • lower grade or failure on the assignment or examination

  • failure in the course

  • suspension from the University for a definite period

  • notation on student's official transcript

  • withholding or rescinding a Brock degree or certificate


Theses and Directed Reading Courses


1. The Thesis: who should write a thesis or do a directed reading?

The only students who should take the thesis or directed reading options are those who plan to go to graduate school after completing their Brock degree, or those who have a very keen interest in a particular topic and wish to do detailed research in that area. You must be able to work independently and diligently in order to complete these courses. The upside of the thesis course is that you learn a good deal about your topic and you learn to produce a longer, more detailed piece of written work - usually between 60-80 pages. The Directed Reading course usually consists of shorter papers or another kind of project to be worked out with your supervisor.

The potential downside is that if you do not finish the Thesis or Directed Reading by the April deadline you may not graduate in June - often a problem for those who wish to enter graduate school in the Fall or be considered for Brock Scholarships. Because there are no formally scheduled classes for either of these options it is essential that you set aside time each week to work on the thesis. Schedule regular meetings with your supervisor, and make sure to be prepared for those meetings. Set deadlines with your supervisor and try to stick to them.

The thesis should be an original piece of research. It may be based on library research (e.g. a synthesis of a variety of approaches and ideas about a particular area or focus) or may involve the collection or generation of data (either quantitative or qualitative) and its subsequent analysis or interpretation.

The thesis must include:

a) a review of the relevant literature in the field (i.e. you must situate your research with respect to work that has already been done);

b) some discussion of methodology (i.e. the approach that you are taking and why);

c) an evaluation/critical analysis of your own research contribution.

A major average of 75% is normally required before a thesis can be undertaken.

The student is responsible for all financial implications of the research and the preparation of the thesis.


2. Finding a Supervisor:

Before you leave Brock at the end of your third year you should set the thesis process in motion. Approach faculty members who you know to be interested in your topic and ask them to supervise your work. If you do not know who to ask, consult the Chair or Academic Advisor. Remember that most faculty cannot supervise more than two students at a time, so get things going in the Spring.

Set up the grading scheme with the supervisor. There is some flexibility in allotting a percentage of the grade for the process and for the final piece of work itself. Make sure that you are clear on what is expected of you.


3. Specifics on the Thesis

The department requires students planning to write a thesis or take a directed reading course to submit a proposal through their supervisor to the Academic Advisor for approval. Students may be asked to modify their proposal at that time. Students will not be able to register in these courses until the proposal has been approved. All proposals which involve dealing with human subjects must also pass a University Ethics Committee review before the project may proceed. This review process can take between 4 and 6 weeks, so the proper documents should be completed as soon as possible.

The completed thesis must be read by a second faculty member who recommends a grade and possibly some revisions to the supervisor who will then pass them on to the student. Normally the supervisor will choose the second reader in consultation with the student.

When the thesis is complete and marked by both the supervisor and second reader, the student will do revisions or corrections as necessary. The CPCF administrative assistant has a sheet explaining how the thesis should be formatted before it is submitted for binding. Clean copies should be given to the Administrative Assistant who will forward them to the Library to be bound. One bound copy must be submitted to the Department Chair. Binding is done by the library at a very reasonable cost, usually about $7.00 per copy.



The Ken Boyle Cobra Radio Memorial Book Prize

Awarded to a graduating student with an outstanding record in Communications, Popular Culture and Film.

Distinguished Graduating Student Award - Communications

Value $100. A university award to the most distinguished graduate for each Department and Program. The prize and a certificate will be awarded at the Convocation Luncheon.

L. Amy Kerr Book Prize

Awarded to a student in any year in Film Studies or Theatre/Dramatic Literature/Drama-in-Education or Visual Arts, who has displayed strength in academics and participation in the University community.

The Anne Perozuk Book Prize in Critical Writing

Awarded for excellence in an essay submitted by a student in a second- or third-year Film course. The essay must involve either a Canadian topic or a gender-related topic. Essays must be nominated by the course instructor and a clean copy submitted by the student to the Department Chair.

The Sam and Sophie Yacowar Prize

Awarded to the Film Studies major or combined major with the highest standing in two or more FILM courses in third- or fourth-year.

Warren Hartman Bursary

Value: $200, non-renewable. Awarded annually, by application; to be divided equally between each of three outstanding students majoring in Theatre/Dramatic Literature, and in Film Studies and in Visual Arts, who have completed their first year and are entering their second year. Applicants must demonstrate need and meet OSAP residency requirements.

Sumner and Helen Grant Award in Popular Culture

Awarded annually to a Popular Culture major or combined major in third or fourth year for outstanding academic achievement.

Application details are available from: The Registrar's Office.

Department of Communications, Popular Culture and Film
URL of this page:
Last updated on October 27, 2002 by Professor John Lye
Brock University Main Page