Use the tabs above to learn how to choose keywords for your searches, and locate books, journal articles, and reference encyclopedias from library resources. Google Scholar is also a great research tool and can be configured to link back into library resources. Finally, click "MLA Citations" for more information and tools on citing sources correctly.
Essays and Annotated Bibliography (90%)
In this course you will identify an academic issue and write an argument on that issue. In other words, you will choose a topic and imagine an academic audience to whom you will address your paper. To do so, it might help to ask yourself, “In what college class would I write such a paper?” Be aware, you will write all your essays on this topic, so you will want to choose one that is both manageable and interesting enough for you to live with all quarter.
EssayII—Background Essay (10%): Based on research, write a thesis-driven paper that gives readers some background or context about your topic in order to prove that the topic is worth reading. Be sure to use at least five sources from at least two different online subscription databases. You may also choose to include one field research observation or an interview that you have conducted.
Your purpose in this essay is to 1) define and describe what your topic is and 2) to make readers care about a topic about which they may know very little (though some of them may think they know a lot). To do so, you must learn more about the background of your topic. Think about this paper as one in which you define and set parameters on your topic. For instance, if you want to discuss child bondage, your first essay may limit your scope to child bondage on African cocoa plantations and will have to differentiate how bondage might be different from slavery.
You may find that this paper might look at history, or at causes, and/or effects of your topic. Or you could identify an argument or controversy going on about your topic such as whether or not Shakespeare wrote his plays or whether digital media is changing the way our brains work. You should research any of these approaches as long as they help your readers understand that your topic is important, help them understand key concepts and terms, and help prepare them for your larger argument at the end of the quarter.
Annotated Bibliography with Cover Letter (10%): For this assignment, you will provide an annotated bibliography of ten sources that you plan to use in that essay. The expectation is that you will draw from this bibliography to write Essays II and III. Also, by the time these assignments are due, you will have written many of your entries by doing CSRs; therefore, you need to take your CSR assignments seriously. Repeatedly rushing through the shortest articles for CSR homework will make your annotated bibliography very difficult. Additionally, be aware that research is a process. Some research that may have seemed useful during the first couple of weeks of class may now seem irrelevant. Take the time to add and subtract sources as you need to, and be sure to take the time to revise your CSR’s as you add them to you annotated bibliography. Your annotated bibliography should represent a range of resources, including one book, one print source, and sources from at least two library databases.
The cover letter will introduce readers to your topic and your research questions, define key terms, and provide and general overview of the information and ideas you have collected through the research in your bibliography.
Essay II—Literature Review (10%): A literature review is a paper that provides an overview and evaluation of previous research. Most of this paper will establish the “They Say” portion of an academic conversation, categorizing and explaining what others have had to say. You will not, however, stop there; you will also have to evaluate these ideas and arguments and connect them to a broader conversation by applying critical thinking and reading. Your purpose for this paper is to explore and evaluate the various ways others suggest addressing your topic. Your essay should answer these questions: What do others think about my topic? How valid are their arguments? What do I think about what they think? A final word of warning here: do not merely present one source after another. You will want to categorize like ideas together and may find yourself with several different sources in each paragraph.
Remember, after you have explored these questions, you should arrange your paper into a thesis-driven format. Also, be sure to include at least six new sources using a variety of paper, database and other electronic sources. You are encouraged to use the research from your previous paper; however, remember that this research does not count towards your new sources.
Essay III—Final Paper (60%): Write a 2000-4000 word research paper in which you present a clearly defined academic topic and defend a claim about that topic. To arrive at and defend a new or interesting argument about your topic, you will have to explore both your ideas and others’ ideas about the topic. Perhaps you have chosen an issue that needs a solution, perhaps you have looked at a controversy in a particular field, or perhaps you are asking people to look at an idea in a new way by making an innovative comparison.
NOTE: All of the above assignments will have drafts And final versions due in both print and electronic forms.