Topic Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

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The Topic Proposal and Annotated Bibliography assignment documents your research process in preparation for the upcoming research essay. The two parts of this assignment–the Topic Proposal and Annotated Bibliography–can be submitted in one document; just label each section.

Topic Proposal

Start the assignment with 1-2 paragraphs that do the following:

  • Identify the research question you selected and offer an overview of the topic or the debate
  • Discuss how the question relates to our course theme
  • Give some context or background on this topic
  • Explain why you chose this topic and/or why it interests you

Tip: Use the Topic Overview/Starter information at the very top of the topic page on Opposing Viewpoints to help you with this section. Remember, though, don’t just regurgitate the content or accidentally plagiarize the topic overview! Use signaling language and/or citations, even when you are paraphrasing. The topic proposal section should be approximately 1-2 paragraphs long.

Annotated Bibliography

Start each entry in the Annotated Bibliography with the full, accurately formatted MLA citation/bibliographic information for the source. You can find this at the end of most Opposing Viewpoints in Context articles, and or using the Citation Tools on the right hand menu in the database.

After the MLA entry, write a 1-2 paragraph annotation for the source, using the following format:

  • Write an Academic Summary of the source, using the What/How/Why format from class.
  • (Optional) assess the source, including its value or validity, the author’s background, etc.
  • (Optional) reflect on how this source will help you respond to the question or what unique perspective, information or ideas it can offer that differs from other sources in your list.

The academic summary is required and should be author-focused, rather than a regurgitation of the content of the text. If you have a primary source or a text that does not make an argument, adapt the summary format to fit your source. Refer back to the instruction on Academic Summary from our earlier module if you need a refresher. The other parts (assessment and reflection) are optional in the annotation.

Guidelines for the Annotated Bibliography

  1. Repeat the citation and annotation combination for a total of 5 (FIVE) sources.
  2. Use at least TWO total “Featured Viewpoints” or “Viewpoints” articles
    • Include at least ONE article from an opposing or contradictory viewpoint (that offers an argument that disagrees with an argument from a different article). The whole database is structured in a point/counterpoint format, so this should not be difficult.
  3. Include at least ONE source relevant to your question from the Academic Journals category
  4. Include at least ONE source relevant to your question from the News, Audio or Magazines categories

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