For your final major essay in this class, each of you will be required to craft a thorough, researched argument on a topic/issue of relevance and interest to your chosen professional field. The topic should be something that can be researched in academic—or “peer-reviewed,” “refereed,” or “scholarly,” in definition, as all are interchangeable terms—journals. The essay is not simply a summary of facts from the sources you encounter (this is known as a literature review); while the facts, information, and ideas you have found may well inform and appear in some capacity in your paper, you must take a stance and present a clearly defined argument on the subject at hand. It is to be a presented perspective with claims/assertions supported by substantial, credible evidence—this might involve utilizing your own opinions (contrary to most advice you receive about academic argument), but it will never be based solely in your opinions.
In order to craft a strong argument, carefully consider methods for arriving at a perspective (and thesis) of reasonable scope and aim. Remember that arguments aren’t just “right vs wrong,” it is about presenting perspective in order to address and counter a variety of antithetical aims. You’re not necessarily going to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that your view is correct; the goal is to ensure that you are presenting a view that is valid, and appropriately utilizing evidence to support that validity, even under further scrutiny. If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is.
In regard to research methods: you may, if you so choose, approach the process of research and evidence compilation through both secondary and primary methods. Your paper should not, however, rely solely (or even in majority) on primary research. Use the existing body of research available to you as your foundation; primary study may be helpful and/or interesting as an inclusion, but it should be a form of secondary support (we’ll discuss this further in the next week.)
**There are also several other working requirements for the process of constructing your paper, listed below:
Annotated Bibliography: Your descriptive annotated bibliography must include a minimum of 12 sources, 8 of which should be academic research articles, and will include, in the tradition of such an exercise, complete bibliographic entries for each source, as well as a one substantive paragraph outlining the main concerns of the article, its particular stance, and briefly discussing how its information may be valuable in supporting your thesis—i.e. how it may contribute to your argument. Due Saturday, 4/10 @ midnight.
Draft Check-In: Everyone will be required to submit the first 2,000 words (you can submit more, but no less) of a draft for their essay on Blackboard to prove reasonable progress on the assignment. The draft should include a working introduction and should use at least 5 sources. This will be due Friday, 4/16 @ midnight. Failure to submit a draft for check-in will result in a 10 point deduction from your final paper grade.
Rough Draft Peer Workshop: You are required to participate in an online peer-review workshop; your rough draft for this exercise should be a minimum of 2,000 words of the final 3,000 count, and should utilize at least 5-6 of the final required 8 sources. The workshop will take place in Week 13 (4/11-4/17) as part of our weekly work requirement
Instructions In-Depth: Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography simply means a bibliography (a list of source citations on a topic) with notes about each source.Your sources should be in alphabetical order.
This assignment requires that you find at least 10 sources either directly about or relevant to your topic and evaluate them.You will use these sources to write your research proposal and researched essay on the same topic. First, you will have an introductory statement that gives a good overview of the literature on this topic suggesting what the main issues are as well as a thesis/research question(s) you are pursuing using these sources (HINT: this should be about one substantive paragraph).
For each source you must have a complete citation (the bibliographic information) in a citation format appropriate for your field and an annotation with three parts:
- brief summary of the source—don’t just vaguely say “it’s about x” but explain what it argues or concludes—usually 3 to 4 sentences or more (see below for more detail).
- evaluation of the source’s credibility (including whether or not it’s a scholarly journal, any signs of bias in the organization/author/publication, the solidness of its evidence and conclusions, etc.)—2 or 3 sentences minimum.
- explanation of how you plan to use it in your argument—1 or 2 sentences.
For the annotated bibliography you will need to find and read the actual source—relying on an abstract alone is inadequate.Similarly, for your annotations, you need to compose your own summarizing statements rather than lifting statements from a source or its abstract.