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Instructor: Bruce Matsunaga
Class Line # 58498
Meets daily @ 7:40-9:20, ECG G319

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Assignment Four: Annotated Bibliography

Peer Review Draft Due: 6/22 Th

Polish Draft Due: 6/26 M

Your fourth assignment is to assemble an annotated bibliography of sources you might use for your final project. These could be articles on your profession or they could be related articles that have to do with the specific project you undertake. For example, if you were redesigning a manual or a website you would be expected to consult design or layout guides for that project. If you use a book, each chapter could count as an article.

By the time you begin working on this assignment, you will have been thinking about your final project for a few days, and you'll probably have been doing some research already, so you won't be jumping into this completely unprepared.  When assembling your annotated bibliography, it's important that you follow two major conventions: (1) cite all sources according to the method used by your field of study--most likely APA or MLA format--and (2) make sure you include a comprehensive annotation for each entry.

The purpose of an annotated bibliography, in general, is to provide readers who are interested in the subject you are writing about with a "short list" of publications relevant to that subject. Additionally, it might be used to help your readers follow your own research on the topic, or to support / back up your own findings. You might also use it as a guide for very extensive projects; keeping a list of what information is contained in which publications will help you when you begin drafting your own project.

A quick little example:

Dorsey, Peter.  "Becoming the Other: The Mimesis of Metaphor and Freedom in Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom."  PMLA 111 (1996): 443-50.

Traces the shift away from sacred narrative in Douglass’s second autobiography towards a fuller understanding of the fluid nature of self and representation.  Argues that Douglass’s famed talent for mimicry can be found in My Bondage in its use of various narrative techniques—and that the text finally is about the self as metaphor, the notion of conversion having switched to "a metaphoric transfer" which "signifies a transfer of power" (438).  Argues that recent scholarship on My Bondage responds uneasily to the kinds of mimicry involved.

It is not important that you understand the content of the entry above. Annotated bibliographies are most useful, of course, to people who already understand a bit about the general topic; they are an advanced research tool.  The citation entry appears in MLA format, which is the style used for the study of languages and literature; and the paragraph following the entry summarizes the main points of the article, and also includes quoted material for my own use later on in the project. It is short and very specific with respect to the "main point" of the article. I do not want to go into a great amount of detail here; I want to get right to the point.

If you have not done so already, you will need to do library research on your topic before you can begin this assignment. So here is what you do:

  1. Download the "bibliography notes" form I have provided. This is a Microsoft Word document: save it to disk and print out (or photocopy) five copies of the form.
  2. As you do your initial research, take extensive notes on the articles you find using this form, which is set up in a rough "fill-in-the-blanks" format. Your notes will be raw, sketchy, and rough; that is fine.
  3. Construct your annotated bibliography using these notes. As you do so, make sure you're converting your raw, sketchy, rough notes into a sensible product; ask yourself, "Would someone reading this, who hadn't read the articles listed here, be able to make sense of my annotations?"

Your annotated bibliography should consist of no fewer than five entries, with annotations of at about at least fifty words each. (Yes, this number is arbitrary. For comparison purposes, the entry I gave you above is 86 words.)

This assignment is due on 6/26. Turn in your article notes along with the bibliography.