Project 2: Research in many Genres

Draft Due: Monday, Nov. 1st

Final Project Due: Monday, Nov. 8th

Module 2 Reflection Due: Monday, Nov. 8th

**NOTE** All work is due at the beginning of class on the due date. 

**Please Do NOT** wait until the last minute to ask me questions. Come and visit me during office hours or email me during the week with questions. 

The Assignment

We are beginning a research and inquiry process that will span Modules 2 and 3. In order to explain Module 2, I have to talk about Modules 2 + 3 together first, because you’ll use the research you do now in Module 2 for your project in Module 3, so you’re going to have to use some foresight in the research decisions you make! 

In Module 3 (the NEXT Module) 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 Module 2. For example, in Module 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 Module 3 will be based on the research you do in Module 2. You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to be doing in Module 3 yet.

In Module 2, (THIS module) 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. 

We are going to take our writing one step further. Instead of writing just a plain annotated bibliography, 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 will work together to narrow this down into a question you can research.

The topic can be on an urgent current event or an issue related to your community or NYC. Examples of possible topics could be: college tuition, public transportation, traffic safety (bike safety, Vision Zero), sanitation, supermarkets, policing, technology, gentrification, etc.  It is important when choosing the topic, to understand that as part of your research on the topic, you will be asked to identify a problem and to use your research to propose a solution to the problem.  It is important to choose a topic that you are very curious about since you will be focusing on the topic for Modules  2 and 3! 

The key in this module is to think about how different genres present the information on the topic. Who is the intended audience of each piece? What is the genre? What are the constraints? How effective is the message? Would a different genre be more effective? Why or why not? These are the questions that should drive your research and your writing this module.

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. So you’ll start with questions and then follow whatever interesting side roads you discover, informing the class about what you found. 

An overview of the process and finished product 

We will spend the next few weeks researching and writing. An annotated bibliography is something you write as you research (though of course you will spruce it up for final submission).  

Your reflective annotated bibliography will have (don’t worry, we’ll go over all of these ingredients in detail as we do them): 

  • An introduction in which you introduce your question, why this question intrigues you and what you expect to find in your research.  (At least 300 words) 
  • FOUR sources (at least 300 words each), each with a corresponding bibliography entry which includes 
  • a summary of the source’s content
  • a reflection on that source which includes your opinion of what you’ve read 
  • 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
  • You will also probably want to include a couple of key quotes here that you might want to use later– these don’t count toward your word count!
  • At least 3 of the 4 sources will need to be in different genres.  That is, you can’t have three magazine articles or four YouTube videos. 
  • A conclusion, in which you summarize what you found, and explain what surprised you and how your thinking on your question deepened or changed.  You will also explain why you think what you learned is important, and who you think should hear about it (At least 400 words) 
  • Just FYI: this whole thing adds up to at least 1900 words. Usually people write more. 

What you’ll be graded on

  1.   Content and Required Elements: Is it readable and informative? Does it teach us about the topic? Does it teach us about the rhetorical situation surrounding each of your sources? Is it at least 1900 words long? Do you have all of the required elements?
  2. 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? 
  3. Genre: Remember that of your four sources at least 3 of them must each be a different genre!  
  4. Presentation: Basically, can someone who is not you make sense of this visually? Are there subheads and other things that would help a reader make sense of your document? Standard Written English and academic tone don’t matter so much, just as long as it’s done with care and shows that you’ve proofread it.
  5. Citation: Are the citations in the bibliography entries formatted according to MLA requirements? f you quote something in your Intro or Conclusion that’s from one or more of your sources, be sure to cite it.


The assignment must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman Font. It must be double- spaced and have one-inch margins. 

Project STEPS

Step 1: Choose your topic 

In class we will be working on strategies for topic choice and how to develop research questions that drive your research and inquiry process. Choose a topic and generate 5-8 research questions on the topic to guide your research. These questions should be questions that inspire your curiosity, drive your interest on the topic and will help you narrow down your research. 

Due: Topic, Research Questions and Free Write on Topic 

STEP 2: Research and Find Sources on your Topic!

In class we will be working on research techniques! This will also include a virtual visit to the library. 

Find at least 4 sources on your topic.  These sources must vary in genre Your sources must come from at least 3 different genres (For example: interview, scientific article, popular article, podcast, scholarly article, op-ed, advertisement, biography, blog, TED Talk, song, YouTube video, etc.).  

Due: Bibliography information for all 4 sources, free write on your topic  

STEP 3: Write an Introduction

Write an introduction that introduces your sources (see Roadmap for details)

STEP 4: Present your research on the topic

You will prepare a short oral presentation on one of the research pieces you found and share it with the class. The focus should be on the genre, Rhetorical Situation (audience, purpose), how the author presents the information, and a brief summary of the piece. Explain why you chose the piece and what the information teaches you about your topic. 

Due: Oral presentation on topic

STEP 5:  Write a source entry for each source

Remember, a reflective annotated bibliography is a written response to a text that does not just summarize what the text is about, but also explores how the author presents the information to their intended audience. A reflective  annotated bibliography focuses on the rhetorical situation (purpose and audience, context), rhetorical choices (rhetorical appeals, style, etc), and the genre (medium, type of text, key features). It does not focus on your opinion of the topic, but rather, what is being said about the topic and how it is being said. 

More specific guidelines will be shared during class sessions. 

Step 6: Choose Quotes (at least one from each source)

This step does not count toward your word count, but it is VERY helpful preparation for Module 3!  For EACH SOURCE, find at least one direct quote from the author that you feel really exemplifies the document’s claims or interpretations (really shows what the author is arguing or trying to say). Or, you might want to choose a sentence that you really agree with (or really disagree with) that you want to refer back to later. You don’t need to repeat something you’ve quoted earlier– this is just a place to take note of quotations you feel you may want to use later.  Put it in quotes– and don’t forget the page number (if applicable). 

Step 7: Write a conclusion

Write a conclusion about what you actually found. What is similar to or different from what you expected when you first started out? Explain. What solutions does your research present? How does it vary based on genre?

How do your sources look at the problem and address them in different ways? Focus on how different genres address the problem in different ways. Who was the intended audience of each piece? What was the genre? What were the constraints of the genre? How effective was the message? Would a different genre have been more effective? Why or why not?

The conclusion should also present what you expected to find initially during the research process. Refer back to your research questions and your free write! 

Step 8: Revise and Edit

Revise and edit your final product to make sure you have all of the required elements and that the information is presented in a clear and organized fashion

  • Intro 
  • Source Entry 1
  • Source Entry 2 
  • Source Entry 3 
  • Conclusion