In ENG103, we'll be working on annotated bibliographies over the next few weeks. Each Monday, a five-entry annotated bibliography is due on your blog. Although we discussed the assignment and how to write an annotated bibliography earlier this week (4/12), I though it would be useful to post a follow-up here because several of you have emailed me with questions.
The annotated bibliographies should relate directly to the Research Essay that is due at the end of the semester. Remember that I'm asking you to define your own topic for that essay (related to the theme of the cluster, of course) and to conduct independent research that will allow you to formulate a persuasive argument about that topic. The annotated bibliographies are supposed to help you arrive at a topic for that essay and get some research done along the way.
First Annotated Bibliography
due on blog 4/19
For the first bibliography, you should choose a general area of research for your final essay. You can use any sources -- web, books, databases. You must cite those sources in MLA format, and the assignment should be titled "MLA Annotated Bibliography on [your general area of research]."
What is a general area of research? The example I gave in class was "the food system and disease." Notice what this example tells us and what it doesn't tell us. We know that it focuses on the dominant system of food production, but we don't yet know what specific part or parts of the food system will be considered. (Farming? Government policy? Meatpacking? Food processing? Fast food chains? Grocery stores?) Similarly, we know that the example focuses on the relationship between the food system and disease, but we don't yet know what disease or diseases. (Type II Diabetes? E. Coli infections? Heart disease?)
This relatively loose definition of terms is what defines a general area of research. At this level, the task of the researcher is to get an overview of this general area, looking into several diseases and how they are connected to different parts of the food system. That way, when it comes time to the focus on a specific topic within that general area, the researcher can make an informed choice.
Our title in this case would be "MLA Annotated Bibliography on the Food System and Disease."
Second Annotated Bibliography
due on blog 4/26
For the second bibliography, you'll need to focus on a specific topic for your final essay within that general area of research. You need to use subscription databases or books -- no web sources. You must cite those sources in MLA format, and the assignment should be titled "MLA Annotated Bibliography on [your specific topic]."
What is a specific topic? The example I gave in class was "meatpacking and the spread of e. coli." Notice that this example falls under the general area of research I gave above: e. coli infection is one specific disease, meatpacking is one specific part of the food system. However, although it is related to our general area of research, the new example excludes a number of things that were part of our general area of research. For instance, an annotated bibliography on "meatpacking and the spread of e. coli" would not include any sources related to Type II Diabetes.
Our title in this case would be "MLA Annotated Bibliography on Meatpacking and E. Coli."
Third Annotated Bibliography
due on blog 5/3
For the third bibliography, you'll need to have a specific persuasive thesis in mind -- that will be the thesis of your final essay. You need to use subscription databases or books -- no web sources. You must cite those sources in MLA format, and the assignment should be titled "MLA Annotated Bibliography on [brief summary of your thesis]."
What is a persuasive thesis? The example I gave in class was, "The centralization of U.S. meatpacking operations over the past 40 years has created a system that produces meat cheaply and efficiently. However, it has also created a massive network for the distribution of the e. coli throughout the American public, leading to increasingly frequent and widespread outbreaks of e. coli infection." Notice that instead of just announcing a topic, this example takes a position on that topic. A reasonable person could disagree with that position ("The centralization of meatpacking is not the most important cause of these outbreaks") or agree but see the issue differently ("True, but the advantages of the system in feeding the population cheaply still outweight the risks").
Notice too that each part of our specific topic has been refined and given more detail: "meatpacking" has become "the centralization of U.S. meatpacking operations over the past 40 years" -- presenting a specific transformation in the meatpacking industry over a specific period of time. "E. coli" has become "increasingly frequent and widespread outbreaks of e. coli infection" -- presenting a specific problem with e. coli and the development of that problem over a specific period of time. The thesis also clearly states a relationship between these two terms, which gives it a persuasive element.
Our title in this case would be "MLA Annotated Bibliography on the Centralization of U.S. Meatpacking and Its Role in Outbreaks of E. Coli Infection."
As I mentioned in class, the annotated bibliography is a cornerstone of the large research project. It solves several problems that arise when you try to write a long, complex research essay:
1. It helps you to arrive at a complex thesis for your essay, because each stage of your research prepares you to do more specific research in the next stage. By the time you reach the third bibliography
2. It helps you to gather all of your sources in one place and to remember those sources in detail -- always an issue when you are writing a paper that requires a lot of research or any semester-long research project.
3. It gives you a broad context for your thesis, which makes you better informed and can be useful in framing your argument.
If you have questions about how to write the annotated bibliography, you can find a sample (in APA, not MLA format) here. You may also find Cornell University's How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography page useful.
the obese world
7 years ago