Overview.In the past few weeks, we’ve seen how Michael Pollan inquires into important questions. Also we’ve been keeping a list of questions we’d like to find answers to. In this assignment, you’ll work with a group to find answers to one of those questions. This assignment asks you to investigate by researching and writing an annotated bibliography. In the end, you will explain to the class what you found.
Purpose.The main purpose of your annotated bibliography is to keep track of and share your research with your group; the secondary purpose is to demonstrate your research skills as well as your ability to closely and critically read the sources you find. The purpose of your group’s explanation is to synthesize your research for the rest of the class so that we may benefit from your inquiry.
Audience. You’ll write your three bibliography entries for your group, for your peers, and for your instructor. You and your group will write a collaborative explanation to your peers.
Subject.Your group will focus on one question-at-issue that is related in some way to the Michael Pollan readings from our first unit. We have been working on generating questions and we will work in class to choose manageable questions.
Author. In your annotated bibliography entries, present yourself as someone who has selected sources carefully, read them closely and evaluated them critically. In your group explanation, you should present yourselves as knowledgeable and engaged (though it’s likely you won’t have all the answers).
Strategies. To achieve your purposes with your audiences, consider these strategies:
Choose a manageable question in which your entire group has interest
Start with what you know (including what you have learned in this course so far)
Determine the dimensions of your question; that is, determine the different approaches people may take in looking at the issue
Determine what you need to find out. Often, to answer one question, you’ll need to answer several others as well.
Divide up the research so your group is sharing responsibility and so you don’t duplicate research.
Look for informative sources as well as opinionated sources.
Research thoughtfully—don’t just take the first three sources you find. Be critical, evaluate your sources, and choose authoritative, credible, current, and relevant ones.
Read closely. Write an academic summary of each source.
Read critically. Provide a thoughtful, thorough evaluation and response.
Keep track of where and how you found your sources so that others may refer to them as needed.
Keep track of what your group members are finding so that you can synthesize your research easily as you write your explanation.
For your explanation, be prepared to collaborate. That is, be open-minded, be active but not overbearing, and work together to explain your research and your inquiry process to the rest of the class.
Details. Annotated Bibliography Format: Each of your sources needs an MLA bibliographic entry, followed by an annotation that includes: academic summary of the source, an evaluation and response. Please staple each entry to a print-out or photocopy of the source itself. Please be sure your name is on each of your entries.
Explanation Format: Your explanation needs to include the following:
An introduction that states the questions you asked, why you were interested, what prompted you to choose them, etc.
An explanation of the research you found (you don't need to summarize each source your group found; rather, synthesize it)
A conclusion that states your current opinions on the topic as well as questions still unanswered.
A bibliography (without annotations) so that any interested students can locate the sources you found.
Post your group’s explanation to the discussion forum on the Writing Studio and print out a copy to turn in.
Submission: Use a folder to turn in your annotations and sources along with other materials specified in class.
Due: Week 9
Worth: 15% of your course grade, broken down as follows:
10% for your three bibliography entries (individual grades)
5% for your collaborative explanation (group grade)
[Note to GTAs: Develop criteria for grading this assignment and add it to your assignment sheet. Samples and options will be discussed in TART and E607.]