This final assignment requires students to conduct research in support of one of the authors assigned over the semester. This research project—the annotated bibliography and research paper—is worth 35% of students’ final grade. Students’ annotated bibliography and research paper grade will depend on four components: suitability of research sources, quality of the analysis of the bibliographic annotation, quality of analysis of research sources and textual evidence in the body of the paper, and adherence to annotated bibliography and research paper guidelines.
Annotated Bibliography Guidelines
Part I: To begin, select a topic related to Junot Díaz’s short story collection Drown or Jesmyn Ward’s novel Sing, Unburied, Sing. Once you have selected a topic, develop a working thesis. Your thesis statement should be real and comprehensive. You must include your thesis to introduce your annotated bibliography at the top of the page below your name and course information. You may find that based on your research that you need to refine your thesis, which is a natural result of research and the learning process in general. Students are required to cite and annotate 4 academic sources.
What is an Annotated Bibliography? An annotated bibliography is a list of citations of scholarly texts, specifically books and articles published by an academic press, peer-reviewed journal, and/or found on academic database. Each citation is proceeded by a brief descriptive, critical analysis. The intent of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance of the sources cited. Each source must be directly related to your topic and thesis statement. Annotations are single-spaced and at least 150 words. Included in the citation is the following:
*Students may adapt précis written over the semester so long as it adheres to the following:
Incorrect, incomplete annotations and/or unrelated research sources will be penalized resulting in a lower annotated bibliography grade and likely a lower research paper grade.
London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly 10.1 (1982): 81-89. Academic Search Premiere. Web. December 2, 2019.
Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and noted, published scholar of several books and articles on the television industry, explains how television contradicts five commonly held beliefs. He uses specific televised events, for instance the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to support his argument. London’s examples illustrate contradictions of popular notions, such as “a picture is worth a thousand words” or “seeing is believing.” London’s arguments are well-developed, using appropriate evidence and logical analysis of television culture. London’s approach to the topic as well as his style makes the article readily digestible and likely of interest to a wide audience. In comparison to Smith’s article, London’s article was easier for me to understand the topic, focusing on relevance of perception and truth in American popular culture.
Part II: At the end of your list of annotated sources, write a thoughtful 1-page double spaced reflection explaining the ease and/or difficulties you encountered understanding or compiling sources and how the research and annotation process enhanced your understanding of your topic, your thesis, and the selected fictional text.
DUE DATE: December 8, 2021 at 11:59 pm UPLOADED AS A WORD OR PDF DOCUMENT TO BLACKBOARD (WHICH WILL ALSO BE SUBMITTED AUTOMATICALLY TO SAFEASSIGN).
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Research Paper Assignment Guidelines
For this assignment students will write a research paper on either Drown or Sing, Unburied, Sing. The goal of this assignment is twofold: one, you will identify and explain a CENTRAL argument that the author is making in the fictional text, and two, you will provide an argument about the significance of the fictional text’s a CENTRAL argument. As such, it is crucial that students follow directions and develop a research-based, thesis-driven analysis that avoids plot summary and includes a MINIMUM of two academic resources.
This final assignment requires students to conduct research in support of one of the prompts below—however, one may develop their own research topic. Regardless, students are required to reference at least two secondary academic sources. The two required sources should either be a book published by an academic press or a peer-reviewed article in academic journal. To receive a passing grade on this assignment, students must quote at least two academic sources in the body of the paper several times. One may, of course, exceed the above requirements, including additional primary sources, so long as the minimum number of required academic sources is met.
Research papers should range between 8-10 pages, with 8 full pages as the minimum. Students are required to use MLA style format (12pt Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, etc.) AND MLA documentation of quotations in parenthetical citations and in the works cited page. In addition to the 8-page minimum, a works cited page must appear at the end of the paper. Students are also responsible for copyediting (spelling, grammar, paragraph structure, MLA format) and for the logic of their argument and organization of their paper. Students are REQUIRED to use primary and secondary textual evidence throughout each body paragraph of the research paper. Be sure to make it clear how analysis of primary textual evidence is supported by secondary research sources and the paper’s central thesis and subtopics.
What to avoid when writing a research analysis
How Does One Research and Analyze?
*Select only ONE novel to write about, either Drown or Sing, Unburied, Sing
1. Character development: In Drown and in Sing, Unburied, Sing the characters, living or dead, uncover unasked questions or unspoken truths. Silence becomes an impediment not just to character’s happiness or social mobility but to literal deliverance, and each character must decide whether or not to rise to the occasion and to let what he or she harbors sound out. Select either Drown or Sing, Unburied, Sing and examine a character’s struggle with the attainment of love, happiness, or success. Who achieves personal growth or a deeper awareness of social or personal issues? What is holding them back and how do they overcome those obstacles (or not)? What forms of adversity is each character seeking to flee (addiction, mental health issues, racism, sexism, domestic abuse, childhood neglect, homophobia, etc)? Choose one character from one of the fictional texts and explain their emotional journey through literary analysis and implementation of secondary research sources, using evidence from the text and secondary references.
2. Storytelling: Select either Drown or Sing, Unburied, Sing to examine the topic of rebellion, particularly from family and/or political and social norms. These fictions of rebellion tend to center on a protagonist, giving greater insight to the topic of rebellion as a personal yet universal element of human nature and/or coming of age. What rebellion narrative does the central protagonist or narrator expose and are they successful in telling that story? How does the character articulate their story (dialogue, narration, plot, structure, literary devices)? Consider the difference in the articulation, such as dialogue versus narration, as a form of character development/characterization. Choose one character from one of the fictional texts and explain the context and outcome of their act(s) of rebellion through literary analysis and implementation of secondary research sources, using evidence from the text and secondary references.
3. Setting: Each novel references a number of real-world places and events, including New Jersey, The Dominican Republic, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast/Gulf of Mexico. Research one place or event that is depicted in either Drown or Sing, Unburied, Sing and develop a thesis about the relevance of a particular time/place in the novel. How does the setting play into the daily lives of the characters? Examine the setting and analyze the novel’s description of the time/place/event. Analyze emotionally charged dialogue or narration about the time/place/event, imagery, tone, and direct/indirect characterization based on evidence from the fictional text. Choose one time/place/event from one of the fictional texts and explain how setting, whether a time, a place, and/or an event impacts the narrative through literary analysis and implementation of secondary research sources, using evidence from the text and secondary references.
4. Genre: Focusing on the coming of age genre, analyze the significance of an author’s criticism of cultural, social, and/or political institution. What institutions, people, or ideas is the author criticizing? Why is coming of age a genre well-suited to cultural, political, or social criticism? How does this critique work in service of the fictional text’s central argument? Choose either Drown or Sing, Unburied, Sing and examine the mental, physical, and/or emotional development of one character’s journey of coming of age. How is does the narrative explore coming of age as a cultural, social and/or political critique? Choose one character from one of the fictional texts and explain the cultural, social and/or political context and outcome of their coming of age experience through literary analysis and implementation of secondary research sources, using evidence from the text and secondary references.
Note: The topic you select should respond to or elaborate on themes or subjects discussed in class, and more importantly, should be about a subject directly related to Díaz’s short story collection or Ward’s novel. Be sure to make your topic as specific as possible in order to answer the “So what?” question of your thesis in an effort to discern the relevance of your topic. If you have an answer to the “So what?” question, this will lead to an informed and engaged thesis.
DUE DATE: December 17, 2021 at 11:59 pm UPLOADED AS A WORD OR PDF DOCUMENT TO SAFEASSIGN BY 11:59 PM.
Avoid a non-debatable, predictable, or simplistic thesis:
“There are many motifs, a prevalent motif being hair and passing.”
Instead, develop a unique, specific, contestable thesis:
“The author addresses the complexity of multiracial, transnational coming of age. The text’s non-linear, second-person narrative offers literal and metaphorical reflections of characters’ struggle with racial identity. Using hair as a motif, Díaz interrogates multiracial visibility and internalized racism, using hair as a motif to present a unique passing narrative that explores themes of racial passing, phenotype, and visibility.
Sometimes it can seem intimidating to “criticize” a novel. However, part of this exercise is to expose the fact that even though the author is highly qualified, they are still advancing an argument and using literary devices to persuade readers that their argument is true, not to just present facts. Once you identify a central argument that the author is making, you can analyze whether or not you find their argument compelling. Following are some possible questions you could ask to evaluate Ward’s arguments and develop your critical analysis:
• Definitional questions - Are all the concepts in the text clear? Does the author define a concept vaguely to allow it to travel across different situations? If a concept can relate two seemingly different situations, is the concept meaningful? Do the specific language choices of the author betray a certain ideology or bias, or frame the argument in a certain way?
• Evidence questions- Does the author’s language and literary techniques support their argument? Does the author underemphasize or ignore evidence that is contrary to their argument? Is an argument compelling if it ignores an obvious exception? Is the author’s argument consistent throughout the novel? Or, does the ending seem to offer a different argument than what is presented in the opening chapters?