Here is a Word Doc of the Assignment that you can download.
In order to explain Unit 2, I have to talk about Units 2 + 3 together first, because you’ll use the research you do now in Unit 2 for your project in Unit 3, so you’re going to have to use some foresight in the research decisions you make!
In Unit 3 (the NEXT unit) you’ll be making a new document in a new genre, one you haven’t written in before, about the question you’ve decided to research in Unit 2. For example, in Unit 3, you might write a science article for the readers of Scientific American, or a political article for the readers of Teen Vogue (It’s actually very political these days!) You might create a how-to manual, a manifesto, a short story, a speech or a comic book. Whatever you write in Unit 3 will be based on the research you do in Unit 2. You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to be doing in Unit 3 yet.
In Unit 2, (THIS unit) you will be writing something called an “annotated bibliography.” This is something people write when researching: a list of sources (articles, interviews, etc…) about a specific topic; generally, for each source, there is a summary of that source as well as other important notes. Annotated bibliographies are very helpful tools for research because they help us keep track of multiple sources and ideas so we can use them later in larger projects. They also help us get a broad understanding of the topic or question we are researching. People use them in all kinds of academic research– but people also use documents like this in almost every field to make sense of their research for their future selves, their professors, their bosses and the committees and groups they work with.
You will be writing a “reflective annotated bibliography.” That means, for each of your four sources, you will write entries that are a little bit longer than a person would in a usual annotated bibliography. That’s why this is the whole assignment instead of just one step in a research paper. Doing it this way will help you learn more about your topic and sources and more about doing research in general.
In each entry, you’ll write about, not just what the writer said, but how they said it, why they said it and who you think they want to read their writing. I know this sounds a bit confusing right now, but don’t worry. I’ll explain it as we go!
What you need to do now:
We need to start by finding a question or topic that really makes you curious– something you want to learn more about. We’ll talk about education, research, and curiosity. We’ll dig into what things matter to you and what you’re curious about enough to dig into. And we’ll work together to narrow this down into a question you can research.
This is not a traditional research essay. It does not begin with a thesis. Real research, as we’ll discuss, is all about asking questions that you don’t already have the answers to. What this is not is a persuasive essay — that’s what you’ve been doing throughout your K-12 career. In real life, most of the time, we start with a question and then follow whatever interesting side roads you discover. So that’s what you’re doing here. The end result will inform us about what you found; it will not try to persuade us to accept a position you already have. In fact, good research often turns up things that challenge us or makes us re-thinking our positions a little. Expect it and accept it! That’s the fun stuff.
An overview of the process and finished product:
Step 1 – Pick your topic
This step is all about choosing something that really matters to you and that you would like to learn more about. I’ve created a Padlet Shelf with some general areas, but if you want to add a column, feel free (just let me know).https://padlet.com/jsblainfaculty/1epjjkjljg6adxyu
In your Shelf post, say why this is important and/or interesting to you, maybe what you’d like to learn more about, and some ideas about where to go look for information. For this project, you’ll have to look at all kinds of different genres (video, graphic novel, academic essay, website article, images of all kinds…) because all voices are important, and everybody who “composes” a “text” is commenting on something that matters to them.
After you put up your post, look at what other people who have posted in that column are saying. Leave questions or suggestions or just general comments. You’ll be forming research support groups, so the Padlet Shelf is a good place to start getting to know each other.
Step 2 – Your research support group
I’ll set up folders in the Unit 2 Google Drive folder, one for each topic/issue once they get all sorted out. And in each folder, I’ve started a blank Google Doc. This is where you’ll be posting the results of your investigation.
I’ll also set up Group Slack channel to use if you want.
Step 3 – Your Group Annotated Bibliography
- First thing you need to know is that you won’t be graded as a group. Yay! You’ll be graded on your own research and individual report. This Group is for support and providing suggestions and whatever else you need it to be. I’ll also be looking at what’s being posted as it’s posted and leaving feedback on it. Easier than doing an OpenLab post!
- Together you’ll be building a very long bibliography about the issue you’re all investigating. You need to read everybody’s Source Analyses as they’re posted so you can decide which ones you want to talk about in your Individual Report (more below), and be able to give each other feedback on whether you think their Source Analysis was done correctly or if you have questions or comments on the Source.
- General Group First Paragraph: First, however, you must write a general first paragraph at the top of your Group Google Doc that more or less re-states what you all wrote on the Padlet Shelf: who you are, why you’re interested in this topic, what you would like to learn more about in general. Also include in this paragraph some ideas about places you might go look for sources; this is meant mostly to help each other in the investigation.
- Next, you start doing your research! Each person must find four sources that talk about your issue. Each of these four sources will need to be a different genre. That is, you can’t have four magazine articles or four YouTube videos. At least one of these sources needs to be a written non-fiction document (like an article or report) and at least one of these needs to be a non-print source, like a video, song or interview.
- Each person must do a Source Analysis of each of their four sources (at least 400 words for each Source Analysis). Here’s what’s in the Source Analysis :
- Bibliographic information (author, title, source, etc – use MLA or APA)
- A short 2-3 sentence summary of the content. For example, if you pick a video, you’d say it’s a video about X and it says/shows this and makes this point.
- a brief rhetorical analysis (an evaluation of the author’s credentials, writing style, and purpose, and why you think the author is credible or not).
- a short analysis of why you believe the author chose that genre and why it was a good or bad choice for the intended audience.
- a short reflection on the source that includes your opinion of what you’ve read.
Here’s an example from my Summer ENG 1121 class: their assignment was a little different but you can see the general idea of what a Source Analysis should look like and contain (this one is about 350 words):
Council for Economic Education. “Never Too Young: Personal Finance for Young Learners.” YouTube, 28 Sept. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFsz07oQq5Q.
This source a YouTube video from the Council for Economic Education, showing viewers that financial literacy can be taught to students of all ages.
The creator of the video is the Council for Economic Education (CEE). The CEE’s mission is to equip K-12 students with the tools and knowledge of personal finance and economics to make better decisions for themselves, their families, and the community. The video talks about the CEE’s K-5 after-school program Never Too Young: Personal Finance for Young Leaders. The intended audience is parents, teachers, and politicians. The genre used a video, I believed they chose this genre to display the work the students completed, and so the audience can hear the students talking about how much fun they are having. The video had a great video, editing, and sound. The video used a combination of voices such as teachers, students, and CEE coordinators. This gives the viewers different perspectives on the effects of the after-school program, and the video also provides excellent visuals on the student’s works and classroom experience.
From the opening seconds of the video, you can see the importance of a single mom’s view of financial literacy. A single mom is trying to give her children the skills to move out of the intercity. The Never Too Young: Personal Finance for Young Leader program will help this mother provide her kids to overcome their situations. The video gives viewers proof financial literacy can be taught to students of all ages. The right curriculum allows students as young as eight years can learn the value of money, how a business runs, how to manage a credit etc. The children in this program are already more knowledgeable about economics and financials th4en most adults. The message this source provides is in the name of the program; nobody is ever too young to learn about personal finance.
6. To Post Your Source Analyses…
- Draw a line before you drop yours in so they’re separated.
- Put your name just below the line.
- Paste in your Source Analysis.
7. Everybody should leave Comments on the Source Analyses as they come in. Ask questions you think maybe they should have asked, make sure they haven’t missed something, etc.
8. I’ll also leave comments on the Source Analyses as they come in
Step 3 – Individual report
Now that you’ve gathered all of this very amazing information – and trust me, you’ll be amazed at some of the things you find – each of you has to write an Individual Report of about 500 words where you talk about what the process of doing this Annotated Bibliography was like, and what you learned from it. Here’s what goes in it:
- Introduction: Remind us again about why you chose this issue, what you were curious about, what you hoped to learn more about, and what your position or opinion about the issue was when you started.
- What you learned: Talk about what you learned doing this – the things that surprised or infuriated you, or made you hopeful – and how your thinking about the issue deepened or changed in the process.
- Who else should know: Talk about what you think is the most important thing you got from the process, what it was like to do research where you weren’t trying to prove a point, and who else you think should heara about what you learned.
You’ll post these as individual files in the Group Google Drive folder and leave each other Workshop-style Comments (just like Unit 1).
And then we’re on to Unit 3 where you get to create something new.
What you’ll be graded on:
- Content: Are your Source Analyses readable and informative? Do they teach us about the topic? Do they teach us about the rhetorical situation surrounding each of your sources? Are your findings reflected in your Individual Report – did you tell us a bit about what you discovered?
- Research: Did you dig deep– meaning, did you look for sources that don’t just agree with what you thought you would find? Were you open to being surprised and contradicted? Did you look further than the first three hits on Google? Did you talk about surprises and important things you learned in your Individual Report?
- Genre: Remember that your four sources must each be a different genre! You need at least one formal article, and one non-print source.
- Citation: If you quote something in your Intro or Conclusion that’s from one or more of your sources, be sure to cite it.