Paper Two – Research Narrative and Annotated Bibliography (25%)
Length: 3-5 typed pages + bibliography
Goals: To expand your research skills and to increase the number of sources typically used for a paper.
To evaluate the information you have found and to reflect on the various opinions others have about your topic.
To develop documentation skills.
Format: The paper must be double-spaced with 1-inch margins. Use a 12 point font. The text should be left justified. See chapter 11 in the Field Guide for a sample annotated bibliography. It must use correct MLA or APA citation formation (or the format appropriate to your major)
Content: A description of your research and a 20+ item annotated bibliography.
Read chapter 11 and part 5 of the Field Guide. Take part in class exercises and activities on research, annotation, evaluation, and documentation.
Ask each other, the WSU librarians, and me for help finding sources.
Remember: This paper takes care of the bulk of your reading and research so that when you write paper three, you are ready to argue using the evidence you’ve found.
Find 20 sources about your topic. They need to be a balanced mixture of source type (internet/journal/magazine/newspaper/book, etc.) and have a range of opinion (agree with you / disagree with you / mixed opinion). At this stage, you can include sources that you have decided will not be good sources for your final paper so long as you can explain why they don’t measure up.
As you search, keep a record of how and where you found materials. Make sure you keep bibliographic reference material for all your sources. See APA/MLA information in the Field Guide.
Write 3-5 pages describing your research process and results. Follow it with an annotated bibliography. Include the following:
1. A descriptive title.
2. A description of your research process. This is the story of how you found your materials. Include how you figured out where and how to look, and what successes and failures you had. Discuss your search strategies (choosing an appropriate database, choosing the search terms, etc.) This section should include a short restatement of your topic and its scope. This may have evolved since paper one. E.g. My topic is whether hybrid cars are a practical solution to oil usage issues and I’m focusing only on American markets.
3. Source selection criteria. How did you choose sources? For this paper, you may include sources you think are not credible or are biased.
4. A summary of the main positions taken on your topic. At this point you should not be saying whether you agree / disagree or be refuting the points. This is similar to the overview in paper one, but now you’ve moved on from just your general knowledge to a neutral survey of what you found.
5. An evaluation of your opinion and knowledge of the topic in the light of the TOTAL 20 sources you have found. Has this research changed your mind? Deepened your convictions? Briefly describe what you thought about the topic before the research. Discuss how you came to hold those ideas originally. Describe what you think now.
6. An inventory and discussion of whether you have enough valid sources for your paper. Are there areas for which you still need to find materials? What will you do to find the information you still need?
7. A provisional goal for your final paper. E.g. In my final paper I hope to prove that eating a 5lb bag of sugar every day is, despite what most people believe, really a healthy thing to do. This is a statement that could serve as a rough draft thesis to help you focus as you move on to read your research closely for evidence and quotations.
8. A bibliographic list of all the relevant sources you found. You should write 3-5 sentences about each entry. Make sure you first describe the source and then evaluate it. Use chapter 11 of the Field Guide to see how to write the descriptive and evaluative entries.
Here are some considerations for part eight.
A bibliography is a list of sources about a subject. A works cited page lists only sources used in a paper. It doesn’t reflect all the background reading you do – only the materials you actually cite. This assignment asks for a bibliography so it includes all the relevant works you found. The final paper will have a works cited page – just referring to what you use in the paper. Remember, paper two is where you can demonstrate all the background work you do without having to cram it into the final paper. Paper three uses only the best materials.
Annotated bibliographies are used in research as tools to help people select sources. In addition to being a list of materials, an annotated bibliography also describes and / or evaluates the materials. You might be lucky enough to find an annotated bibliography about your topic — it could help you find and select good sources. They are also tools for writers to evaluate their own research. The one you write will to help you decide which sources are worth using. You are documenting, describing, and evaluating twenty sources.
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