Research Paper Abstract: Tracing Media Infrastructure

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An abstract is a 500 word summary of a research project. Follow the guidelines below to write one.

(12 pt. font, 1” margins, page numbers, Chicago citation style) on the affordances of a media infrastructure, technology, or material component of either within a media ecology framework. We will be learning to research and write in a genealogical style. That is, from concerns, patterns, discourses, social issues, etc. identified in the present moment, you will work backwards in time, asking how they came to be so.

You will develop this research paper abstract considering along the way the following questions:

  • What contemporary everyday life practice, technology, or social issue do you personally care to explore in depth (weeks 1-4)?
  • What affordances of the contemporary media environment have made this concern or issue thinkable to you?
  • What is an infrastructure, how and why did this concept develop over time, and what infrastructures relate to your research concern in particular?
  • What theoretical approaches have previous scholars used to study infrastructure and technology?
  • How can you tell a story grounded in theory about your particular infrastructure, technology, or material?

Infrastructures, technologies, or materials might include…




Social media algorithms


Railroad tracks

Cargo containers




Bottled water

Infrared goggles

Broadcast networks

Server farms



Eye Tracking Devices

A kind of camera (drones, wearables, spy, smartphone, point-and-shoot, etc.)

Personal computers


Plastic bags


Electric grids



Oil extraction


Abstract Templete:

[Title (not Abstract, but a real title that reflects your idea and subject)]

This research paper will focus on [main subject] as an angle on [main field, concept, or theme] (1 sentence).

[Main subject] is . . . (1-2 sentences to describe)

Scholarship on XXX theme to date has claimed YYY about it (2-3 sentences, with authors cited by name who have made these claims).

This raises a question (1 sentence for your research question here, relating your main subject to the scholarship reviewed above)

I argue that [main subject] is different/builds on YYY claim in an unexpected way. (2-3 sentences to say how).

This is significant because . . . (1-2 sentences).

Do not use too much resource in abstract.

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