Thesis Statement or something similar: ”This paper will argue that the three most important roles of the media
on democracy in Brazil are: setting the agenda for governments, relaying important information to the general
public regarding what is going on politically, and holding the government to account.”

Guide for Your Paper Proposal and Final Paper
Poli 381

The final paper is an opportunity for you to explore in more depth an aspect of the course and how it relates to a country you are particularly interested in learning more about. The proposal and final paper will help you to develop your knowledge and analysis of mass media in that country.

Since this is a course in comparative politics, the expectation is that you will write a comparative politics paper. The comparative method invites you to compare aspects of politics either within a single country or compare more than one country. The case study approach is the most common; this is what we call the study of an aspect of politics in a single country. If you wish to compare two countries, please see the instructor in advance.

This course will take you through the stages of writing a comparative paper. The stages involve the following:

1) Choose a country (or two countries) and topic (aim to do this by Sept. 15, visit me during my office hours)

2) Write a paper proposal. (Due Oct. 6)

3) Write the final paper incorporating feedback from the paper proposal. Your graded paper proposal must be attached to your final paper so I can see how you have incorporated (or not) the feedback you received. Please also attach the completed essay checklist (Due Nov. 28)

Choosing a Country and Topic

Choose a country in Latin America (Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries in the Americas) for which there is a significant amount of research on the media. Peruse the library catalogue and databases to find sources and take a look at the types of questions this work is addressing.

Choose a topic on the essay topic hand-out that fits with the type of research you are finding on your country of interest. Or, choose a topic that interests you and then find a country in Latin America that has a large number of sources on this topic.

For useful tips on choosing a topic, writing a research question, and research and writing your final paper see Northey & McKibbin (2012).


1. Antonio Hohlfeldt, Political Journalism in Brazil as a developing democracy: The Relationship between government and the media, Communicatio 36 (2010): 252-264. Accessed October 5th, 2016. needAccess=true.
2. Carolina Matos, Media Democratization in Brazil: Achievements and Future Challenges, Critical Sociology 38 (2012): 863-876. Accessed September 30th, 2016.
3. Carolina Matos, Media Reform in Latin America Revisited: Where do we go from here (2015): 1-17. Accessed September 30th, 2016. channel=doi&linkId=554e1b0708ae93634ec70013&showFulltext=true.
4. Ed. Christina Holtz-Bacha and Jesper Stromback, Opinion Polls and the Media. Accessed October 5th, 2016.
5. Elizabeth A. Stein, The unraveling of support for Authoritarianism: The Dynamic Relationship of Media, Elites, and Public Opinion in Brazil, 1972-1982, The International Journal of Politics 18 (2013): 85-107. Accessed October 5th, 2016.
6. Julian Durazo Herrmann, Media and subnational democracy: the case of Bahia, Brazil, Democratization (2016): 1-22. Accessed October 1st, 2016.

7. Philip Kitzberger, Media Wars and the New Left: Governability and Media Democratisation in Argentina and Brazil, Journal of Latin American Studies 48 (2016): 447-476. Accessed September 28th, 2016.

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