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Scope: As stated in the syllabus, there is one required video for viewing, creating an opportunity for students to
explore course topics in action via an essay. Allow yourself not just enough time to watch the film, but also
enough time to do the readings and digest what you have watched and read, so as to put the results together into
a unified account (i.e., a reaction paper).
Purpose: Students will challenge their understanding of ALL course materials, generate critical debates, and
ultimately, discover and reshape their own appreciation for the film and courses subject by utilizing their
writing/research and critical thinking skills through a complete, but concise reaction paper. Note: A reaction
paper is NOT a research paper; a reaction essay is more relaxed in nature than a formal research paper.
After Watching: After viewing the film at least twice (first, to gain some general impressions and a few possible
points to develop; second, to look for evidence to develop or support your main points), taking notes, and
trying out some main ideas, I suggest settling on one central concern/issue, explore it in a systematic way, and
present it as clearly as possible. If you do not know what to write about, watching the directors comments and
interviews in the DVD menu can possibly give you ideas you might have overlooked.
Important: Understand that I need assurance that not only you watched the film, but also can relate it
to something else anything anything relevant to the course.
Please, whatever you do, DO NOT give too much plot summary or re-cap of each movie
(unless an exact connection to something immediately follows) NOR give a
REGURGITATION of handouts/lecture notes (unless, again, if youre going to make exact
references to something else in order to make a valid point). What you should do INSTEAD is
state what you actually learned from watching the film through EXPLICIT links between course
materials and references used.
One technique to avoid too much story telling is to choose a narrow thesis, focusing on, for
example, a single scene or perhaps on a secondary character as it relates to something in the
course, such as a sociological/criminological theory. If you focus on a major character or central
theme as it pertains to a specific theory, you’re more likely to follow them through the whole
film, and tell the whole story from the courses viewpoint. A more mechanical approach is to
arbitrarily limit your plot summary to a single short paragraph
Picking Film: Pick ONE movie or documentary from the list below. Do not solely rely on each films synopsis.
If time permits, I suggest watching a few of them, since you will not know which one is the best to react to. If
you do this, you will be able to choose a film that piqued your interest. Since they are relevant to the entire
course, you will not be wasting your time.
Picking Related Chapters: Some chapters are more relatable than others are to a film, so it is impossible to pinpoint
only one or two chapters. As a result, make note that there is more than one chapter relatable to a particular
film. After reading the textbook and deciding how you will discuss the film picked, it is up to you to pick the
appropriate chapters to backup your reaction.Police Corruption
Lumet, S. (Director). (1973). Serpico [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount.
Related textbook chapters: several, especially Chapters 3, 5, and 9 (Burns); in ReussIanni,
Chapters 1, 2, 5, and 7.
Note: If you pick this film, you should also watch The Seven Five.
OR, Patrol, Police Operations, and Administration
Raymond, A., & Raymond, S. (Directors). (1977). The police tapes [Documentary]. United
Related textbook chapters: several, especially Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 (Burns); in
Reuss-Ianni, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7MINI-REACTION PAPER
1) What is it? A reaction paper is just what its name suggests a paper explaining your reactions to a film and what
caused those reactions. It may be like a review, because your reaction may involve judgment or evaluation; it may
be like an analysis, because your reaction may examine or compare/contrast a particular character, relationship,
or scene and in the end, its brought together into an integrated whole through synthesis (see Levels of Thinking
in the DB Requirements file). Moreover, it requires students to understand the film itself and to evaluate it
using the entire course; thus, leading the student to describe how well the film accomplishes its own objectives
of presenting the courses subject matter and other related sources (i.e., scholarly journals, government research,
etc.). To begin, brainstorm possible course topics that interest you, which directly relates to the film following
these parameters:First, ask yourself: Up to and including the specific paper’s due week, how many course topics were
expressed in the film (explain how you answered this)? What was my overall reaction to the film based
on relevant course materials (textbook readings, video clips, handouts, etc.)? What did I learn by
watching this film? Was there something in the film that struck me as particularly interesting, exciting,
Professor Lozada Evaluation Procedures (Rev. 1/12/17) Page 5 of 9
or significant? The answers to these questions should help develop a suitable reaction statement or
statements (similar to a thesis statement), which is part of the introductory paragraph. As your essay
starts to take shape, note where you found the answers to these questions for easier parenthetical
Second, it is assumed you have already completed other social science courses (e.g., sociology). Use this
exposure to add a different level of knowledge on behavioral topics by mentioning them in your
writings. This step calls for students to discuss their overall reaction primarily from the course’s subject
area, then secondarily (only if the student wishes to), from any other related college course (psychology,
political science, criminal justice, anthropology, law, etc.) to enhance/complement the primary course,
which is this one. At the minimum, find topic(s) or subtopic(s) of your liking within our textbook by
breaking down your overall reaction and then, clearly explaining your viewpoint/position on why the
topic(s) or subtopic(s) you found best relates/correlates to the film. Repeat this process with secondary
topics from secondary subjects, if you have chosen to do so. Note locations of materials used. When
done, this part should complete the introductory paragraphs and create a smooth transition into the
body of the paper.
Third, the following body paragraphs are the most important ones: Defend your position (i.e., your
already stated reaction statement or statements in the introductory paragraph). Here, one should find
the nitty-gritty/the gist of the students argument with detailed support on the topic(s) or subtopic(s)
picked. Begin each new paragraph with a topic sentence (main idea). Then, use evidence and specific
examples (don’t stay in general/overall terms) to support the topic sentences main idea. Mention what
you are basing your reaction to the film on. Based on this reaction, state how outside materials (peerreviewed
journals, websites, etc.) that you found support your reaction or how your position relates to
the course (see #5 below for the use of references). Note locations of materials used. The closing
sentence wraps up the main idea; end with a transition sentence that connects to the next body or
conclusion paragraph. Repeat this process until you have answered all of your main ideas. When done,
these parts should show what you have learned from reacting to the film; thus, completing the body
portion of your essay. Note: You should also know that you might have to fine-tune this third step as
the reaction paper builds, taking into consideration the length, format, your understanding of the
theories to the film, etc.
Fourth, dont forget the conclusion! Your concluding paragraph(s) should go beyond the original
reaction statement(s) from the introductory paragraph. One way to do this is sum up your backed-up
opinions or facts as persuasively, concisely, memorably as possible that bridges your overall reaction
directly to this class. In short, tell the audience the main point you want to make regarding your
reaction, which was based on relevant topics, and how it connects to our social world at large. The
following questions can help bring your thoughts to a close (use for other DQ responses; list not
For example, if the film is a portrayal of the 1970s, how is it applicable today?
What recommendation(s), if any, are you making based on your supported
reasoning/facts/evidence? Can you pose a question(s) for future study based on your research?
How does your reaction make logical sense to you? Does it seem correct or ring true to you?
Is it valid in the real world? Can society learn anything useful from the lessons portrayed?
Does your review/analysis seem better than any other (i.e., does one contain more empirical
evidence/data than the other)? If so, what do you propose as a course of action?
Based on previous experiences (such as real-life scenarios) and personal reflections, can you (a)
offer advice that illustrates something the film and this course talks about or (b) draw reasonable
conclusions and inferences?
Were you able to apply your newfound knowledge to (a) the courses description, scope, or
performance objectives (see syllabus) and (b) the specific topic(s) or subtopic(s) you decided to
Professor Lozada Evaluation Procedures (Rev. 1/12/17) Page 6 of 9
After completing this reaction, what are your final thoughts on the assignment as a whole? Why
should we (fellow classmates, professors, the real world, etc.) care about your
supported/researched reaction to the film?
How does this reaction stack up against prior video clips or DQs?
And fifth, gather all of your in-text citations from #1-4 above and create an alphabetical
reference/works cited list.
2) Grammatical Person: Since a reaction paper describes your own reaction to a film, it is appropriate to use first
person (I, me, my, mine, etc.) occasionally. Dont get carried away with personal pronouns because the paper
is primarily about the film and its linkage to the course, not strictly about the writer (you). Remember, personal
opinions must be backed up with documented evidence/knowledge and presented logically.
3) Proofreading Product for Errors and Completed Ideas: Your final goal in writing a reaction essay is to submit an errorfree
product (use ReadPlease, or similar proofreading software) by analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating all
of the items listed under #1 above that helps the reader see, understand, or appreciate elements or ideas that are
less obvious. Completed ideas should incorporate psychological, criminal/juvenile justice, or other social
science knowledge and terminology/key terms throughout each paper to complement the courses subject. Do
not define terms, but do use them properly in context by supporting your claims with specific facts from the
References: The final draft must have a minimum of 3 sources (actual film watched, textbook, and an acceptable
academic /outside article/website). The Internet/Library Exercise should have prepared you for this paper, but
note that this paper has different expectations. As you navigate through the paper, use higher levels of critical
thinking. To accomplish this task and to strengthen your stance, attempt to incorporate at least one peerreviewed
article (again, not required; only a suggestion). If you do all of the aforementioned correctly, it will
prepare you for upper-level and research-oriented courses, especially if you end up with more than the
minimum amount of sources. Hint: Follow this suggestion for other DQs as well.
Important: Last page of your paper must have a separate centered heading titled, References for APA
(preferred) or Works Cited for APA style. Use The Citation Machine or similar
Unless the material cited is considered general knowledge, youll lose points if you improperly
use parenthetical citations.
If you are missing in-text citations, a references section, and/or the required aforementioned
references, you will get a failing grade (i.e., 59 or below).
Unacceptable Academic References: References like Wikipedia, Psychology Today, and Court TV are
not primary sources, are not peer reviewed, and are not appropriate references for scholarly writing.
These tertiary sources have a possible exception of use for anecdotal background information, but thats
all. Because of their credibility issues, citing them in a college-level paper is frowned upon.
Direct Quotations: Use them, but sparingly. Long quotes throughout the paper shows me that youre not
grasping the material and/or dont know how to apply that long quote. I, your instructor, want to read
your writing your analysis and see if you can make light of the course materials as they pertain to the
film. Your supported reaction is what counts.
If long quotes are necessary, a MAXIMUM of 3 long quotes are allowed and each long quote
can be NO longer than 3 lines of written text.
OTHERWISE, short quotes (quotation marks are used because its someone elses thoughts or
words) and paraphrasing (quotation marks are not used because youre piggybacking on someone
elses thoughts or words) must be followed by parenthetical citations. Even if you forget in-text
citations or quotation marks, it is still plagiarism.
Posting (DQ): Post paper in the DB within their appropriate weeks. In the subject line, type a shortened name
for the film followed by your last name. For example, if you watched the film, Criminal Justice: Nothing Cuts
Deeper, you should type: CriminalJustice – Doe.I am going to upload the sample and also the pages ( chapters) of the books.