work collaboratively to organize and evaluate research
consult with their instructor about their work-in-progress on the annotated bibliographies and the inquiry essays
Choose from multiple exercises designed to meet the objectives for Assignment 3
Think critically about evaluating sources
Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)
Follow up on library instruction (10 minutes)
Now that your students have attended library instruction and attempted searching their topics, they will doubtless have new questions and concerns about researching their topics. Choose an activity that will allow you to respond to their needs and to reinforce the lessons of the library session. You may want to ask students about their searches, soliciting both successes and failures. Focus on troubleshooting individual problems in a way that is instructive for the whole class. For example, if students "couldn't find anything" on the topic, ask a volunteer which keywords she used in her searches. List these on the board and engage the class in refining or adding keywords.
Annotation workshop (40-50 minutes)
Trade annotations with your group members, and give feedback by answering the following questions (explain all yes/no responses, please):
Is the source relevant, reliable, and current?
Does the annotation represent the source objectively, accurately and briefly for members of the group and the class?
Will the evaluation convince the group and the class that the source is worthwhile?
Does the response show how the source influenced the annotation-writer’s opinions, thoughts, and ideas about the subject?
Will the MLA bibliography entry enable others to find the source? Will others be able to use the entry as-is for their academic argument Works Cited page (i.e. is the entry 100% accurate?)? (Use the PHG to help answer this question.)
Conference with groups (during annotation workshop)
As students work, you can conference with groups. Aim to help them assess their inquiry: are they asking the right questions? Are they finding relevant, reliable sources? Are they finding a range of perspectives on the subject? Is anyone behind (if so, how can you and the group help the person catch up?) Are there group dynamic problems that you can ease? Also, be sure you have communicated that you understand where each individual student is with his/her research. This should help motivate anyone who is lagging behind, and it should ease any concerns that the best-prepared students may have. While you are conferencing with groups and they are finishing their annotation workshops, have the students who are “finished” work on the following exercises:
Assess your inquiry
What answers have you already found? What answers do you need to find? What perspectives have you found? What perspectives do you need to find? Share your sources with your group members. Help each other out by suggesting good databases, search terms, and other search strategies.
Begin drafting your Inquiry Essays
Reread the assignment sheet to remind yourselves of what your Inquiry Essay needs to accomplish. Use your values exercise to begin examining how you came to choose your inquiry question. Be sure to hold on to whatever you draft today, as you will be able to use it later.
Exercise: For your inquiry essay, it is important for you to contextualize yourself within the rhetoric of green, your topic and your issue, by making connections to your life in a meaningful way. Thoughtful consideration of your values, particularly those which initially brought you to your topic and inquiry question, will be helpful in providing your audience with an engaging narrative. The responses generated by the prompts below might make their way directly into your inquiry essay.
1. Think about three values that have shaped your life. Think about specific ways they have benefited you in your life. List values here.
2. Now review your list above and consider how those values might relate to your topic. If none of these values seems to fit, what other important values do you associate with your topic?
3. Finally, write a brief narrative telling of a specific example of a value working in your life, or an incident that influenced you to choose this as a value, followed by a connection describing how the value(s) applies to your topic and potential argument. (In the student sample below, the first paragraph describes an incident influential in developing a value, followed by the second paragraph, which connects the value to the issue they were working on).
Student Sample Value = Justice
I prefer life to be fair.
Once, when I was around five years old, I was invited to play at a cousin’s house. My cousin was older and, on this particular day, unkind, as all children can be at times. My cousin got some finger paints for a gift and he decided it would be fun to play with them. I liked the idea, but it turned out that he wanted to play with them exclusively while I watched. He would not let me touch them. I sat stewing, close to tears, as he played with the colorful paints. When it came time to clean up, my cousin insisted I help. I refused and he began to complain. From the other room his mother heard us and came into the room. Instead of correcting the injustice as I saw it, she yelled at me! She told me that I was a selfish person with poor manners and I was to clean up immediately or I would be sent home.
This was my first memorable experience with injustice. I had naively assumed that adults knew right from wrong and did not make mistakes in this regard. What my aunt showed me back then was that authority, which I believed to be just, can sometimes support those who receive all the benefits before insisting that other, weaker parties clean up their messes.
Up through and beyond the 1970’s the General Electric Corporation rose in wealth and power due in part to the Hudson River in upstate New York. While receiving energy and resources from the river, the company, in turn, deposited toxic waste back into the water. When their waste polluted the river, and people began to take notice, GE moved their factories elsewhere. The people asked them to clean up their mess but GE refused. Even the government got involved, making laws and asking the company to clean up after themselves. They still refused on the grounds that there was no law in place at the time they polluted the river. People felt betrayed, left to clean up a mess as their jobs left town.
I have a strong reaction to things that I believe to be wrong. When something is broken, I want to fix it. I want to make it right, fair and just. Justice, for me, is when we all get a chance to finger paint and, once we’re finished, we all pitch in and clean up.
Group Publication Analysis (20-25 Minutes)
In your groups look over each other’s publications. Choose one of the periodicals to examine closely and critically. Notice the editorial page, the table of contents, the different sections, the ads, pictures, graphics and colors, before answering the specific questions.
To learn more about the general outlook of a periodical, take a moment to skim through it, noting the following.
Editorials. In these, the editors, making no pretense of being impartial, set forth their views. In most magazines, editorials will be in a front section and may not even be signed, since the names of the editors are on the masthead, near the table of contents. If you can find an editorial commenting on a familiar issue, you can discover the bias of the magazine's editors.
Featured columnists. Usually the job of a columnist depends on his or her voicing opinions congenial to the magazine's editors and publishers. But this test isn't foolproof. Sometimes a dissenting columnist is hired to lend variety.
Lead stories. The lead story is usually the one placed most prominently in the issue; the cover of a magazine often reflects the lead story. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, skim the last paragraph, in which the writer often declares the overall message.
Letters to the editor. You can often deduce the level of schooling and intelligence of the letter writers, and this will tell you something about the magazine's readers. Political positions aren't always easy to decipher from letters to the editor since many magazines, such as Time, strive to offer space to a diversity of opinions.
Advertisements. Ads are usually a good guide to a magazine's audience. To whom are its editors trying to appeal? The many ads for office copiers, delivery services, hotels, and corporations in Newsweek, for instance, tell you that the magazine is trying to appeal to well-educated professionals.
Step 2: Publication Analysis
Now have a volunteer from your group scribe answers to the following questions.
1. What is the title of the publication? What type of publication (magazine, newspaper, website, academic journal, etc.) is it? How do you know?
2. What is the purpose of the publication? How do you know? Provide some examples that support your thoughts.
3. What type(s) of authors are regularly featured in the publication? Are there names listed? Does the publication provide bios and credentials?
4. Who are the primary, intended readers? How do you know this? Can you use the language of the articles, the subject matter, the advertisements, etc. to provide evidence for your answer?
5. What values, beliefs, needs, concerns, and expectations do the readers of the publication hold? Describe these fully. How can you tell? Provide details.
6. What topics/issues does the publication seem to cover? What lenses or points of view are used to look at said topics?
7. What is the typical length of an article in the publication? What does this tell you about the readership?
8. What kinds of graphics are used throughout the publication? Do the articles carry photos, charts, etc.?
9. What patterns do you note in the layout of main articles in the publication? (i.e. Do all the articles or columns begin the same way? Do they each contain a certain number of graphics?)
10. What is the tone, style or level of language (formal, use of jargon, etc.) used by writers in the publication? What does the language tell you about the readership?
11. Do you notice anything else significant about the publication?
Step 3. Write a Review
Each group should finish today’s analysis by writing three paragraph long product “reviews” for specific audiences. Have groups share their reviews with the class.
Review #1 Write a review of your periodical for an audience that will like the magazine/journal (Example: soccer moms and dads might enjoy Parenting magazine. Tell them why they should/shouldn’t buy it.)
Review #2 Write a review of your periodical for an audience that will not like the magazine trying to make them less resistant to it (Example: gun control activist might not like Guns & Ammo, try and convince them it has some merit.)
Review #3 Write a review for people who don’t care either way about the periodical’s subject. Perhaps they are looking for something to read on a plane. Why should they buy your periodical?
Conclude class and assign homework (3-5 minutes)
Wrap up class as usual, emphasizing the importance using today’s activities to help them be concrete and specific in their annotation responses as to why a source is credible or not.
1) Read the Evaluating Sources Overview on the Writing Studio http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/trad_research/eval/
2) Begin to revise your annotations to include resources for specific evaluation discussed in this guide.
3) Continue finding quality research that represents a range of ways of looking at your issue and answering your inquiry question.
4) Complete the Annotated Bibliography Check Sheet:
Is your MLA citation correct? What sources are you using to ensure a correct MLA citation?
Are you finding a mix of informative and opinionated sources? Which ones are easier to find? What ideas do you have for providing both types?
Are your annotations mostly coming from scholarly sources? If not, how can you remedy this gap in your research?
Do your annotations have a clearly differentiated summary and response? Aside from white space, consider what transitions you are using to switch from summary to response.
How would you describe the range of stakeholders represented in your annotations so far? Do more point of views need to be represented?
In the response section of the annotation, in what methods are you using to evaluate the source, including the publication, genre and author? Do the most important evolution points to consider depending on the source?
Are you explaining in your response section why the source is current and relevant to both your group topic and answering your specific inquiry question?
Finish reading your sources, writing and revising annotated bibliography entries. Bring all of your sources and all of your bibliography entries to class next time.