Ø Honors Students will physically be in the exact same class, but they will need to do a minimum
of an additional 10 hours of work outside of class in order to earn the Honors designation. For
this class, that will include the following:
ü An advanced library workshop
ü An annotated bibliography (eight entries) for one text that we read this quarter
ü A final paper that includes this outside research.
Ø Advanced Library Workshop:
ü An advanced library workshop will be held to help you in your search for resources.
ü This advanced workshop will cover research strategies for compiling an annotated
bibliography assignment. Texts we will cover include Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, Willa Cather’s
My Antonia, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning,”
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Ø Annotated Bibliography Assignment http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/
ü A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used
for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited"
depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the
bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).
ü An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography
includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or
the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.
• Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main
arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If
someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of
your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
• Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful
source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the
information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this
• Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits
into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your
argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how
you think about your topic?
ü An excellent formula for beginning an annotation is as follows: [Source] argues + thesis
(some idea about the content. Obviously, in order to write such a statement, you will need to
READ into your sources. But remember, an annotated bibliography requires not only
identifying your sources but also looking at them in a preliminary way so that your document
actually states, in brief, what each source argues for (the thesis). The purpose of the
assignment, then, is twofold: to teach you something about bibliographic format and to take
your project one step closer to being a researched essay.
ü I’ll expect you to have a minimum of eight sources on your bibliography; all of your
sources should refer to one primary text (or one author or theme if you choose poetry). The
critical sources really ought to be a mixture of books and articles. Entries for works in an
anthology are difficult, so here is an example:
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor Books,
Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its
insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer,
the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from
plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal
critic. In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive
Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main
project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and
struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical
handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest
perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class.
Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate
discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing
exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students
should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.
In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the
text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.
Ø The Final Paper
You will work with the same prompts as the rest of the class (or you may write your own; please
discuss that with me before you begin your essay). Your essay will be 500 words longer than the
general assignment and include outside sources that you skillfully use to make your argument.
Q: How will we be graded on the Annotated Bibliography?
A: The completed project is worth 50 points. The quality of your sources, the content of your
entries, and MLA format will be considered.
Q: How important is MLA format?
A: It is extremely important. Use a current MLA guide or go here
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ for help. Remember that MLA format
recently changed: you must now indicate the "medium" of the publication (print, web, etc.).
Q: What short of things should we keep in mind regarding MLA format?
A: For example:
(1) Remember that MLA omits words like "Books," "Publishing Company," and
"Ltd." "University Press" should become "UP."
(2) If you are listing an article in an anthology, put the article's author's name in the author
position; the editor's name goes after the title of the anthology. Inclusive page numbers come at
the end of the entry just before the medium (e.g., "Print").
(3) If you are using only a chapter in a book, mention the chapter title in the annotation but give
only the book's title in the entry, along with the other required information (author, place,
publisher, date). When you cite an article from a database like JSTOR, you do not have to give
the location of the library that you used (see MLA Handbook, 7th ed., 5.6.4. You do have to give
the medium (Web), the date of access, and the provider.
(4) For articles, do not use the words "vol." and "no" for volume and number. Do not put the
season in the date. Do not use "pp." before the page numbers. Give inclusive page numbers.
(5) Every entry must end with a period.
Q: Are we allowed to have more than eight sources on our annotated bibliographies?
A: Absolutely! Just make sure that you have at least eight.
Q: Are we allowed to cut annotations from electronic sources and paste them into our
A: No. That's plagiarism.
Q: Do we use these sources in our actual papers?
A: Yes. You will use three or four of these sources (or others) to support your final essay
Q: When you say “use,” what exactly do you mean?
A: You should have at least one citation or parenthetical reference to each source somewhere in
the text of your paper. I’m more concerned about overuse: do not turn your paper into a
patchwork of critics’ statements and views. I want you to use critics. Do not let them use you.
Q: What format should we follow?
A: MLA. This means, in brief, that you should use signal phrases and parenthetical citations in
the text of your paper, include endnotes or footnotes for important information that does not fit in
the text, and append a list of works cited on a separate page. However, not all of this is relevant
to the annotated bibliography assignment.
Q: How do we cite electronic sources?
A: See the handout from the library or any handbook.
Q: Should we use italics or underlining?
A: Italics is better; underlining is a relic of the typewriter age. Use italics, not underlining.
Q: Are any sources on our primary text suitable for inclusion on the annotated
A: No, definitely not. Use academic sources for this project. Don't use unreliable sources on the
internet like Wikipedia or Joe’s Blog.
Q: What about anthologies of criticism?
A: These are fine, but I must offer a couple of caveats. First, it is not okay for all of your critical
sources to be articles from one or two critical anthologies. If they are, this shows me that your
research does not have sufficient breadth. Second, if you DO cite more than one article from an
anthology, you must be sure to give an entry for the book, plus separate abbreviated entries for
each article. See "cross-referencing" in the MLA Handbook.
Q: What about encyclopedias?
A: Although they can be helpful in your preliminary reading, I do not consider them to be
sufficient sources for your bibliography and your paper. It may be helpful to backtrack by
consulting the sources used by the writers of an encyclopedia entry.