Essay. Writing Assignment: Annotated Bibliography (AB)
Due Dates (by 11:59PM):
Rubin AB entry:
AB Final Draft
(5 entries): 3/ 10
AB Revised Draft:
Mechanics: 6 page minimum (including 5 AB entries and a Literature Review with CRQ), double-spaced, 12 point, 1” margins, MLA (or other) format
Annotated Bibliography is a genre of writing in academia that works to show your awareness of what others have written about a topic. The work done in an AB, including introducing the authors with brief intellectual biographies; explicating the main claims and concepts; tracing the argument and its evidence; evaluating the source; and discussing its stakes and implications gives some context to the course reading you choose to research and situates the course reading into a research topic by indicating the intellectual conversations you are entering. The point of this assignment is to practice research skills but also to dig a little deeper into 4 of our readings using research. For this assignment:
- Compile an Annotated Bibliography of five scholarly sources, including one entry for Gayle Rubin’s “Thinking Sex” and 4 more scholarly sources based on researching sources that are connected to one (the deep dive) or more of our course readings. See the next page for the specific AB entry format.
- “Scholarly” means peer-reviewed articles from academic journals or chapters in books written by experts in a field and not wikis, encyclopedias, newspapers, popular magazines/media, blogs, websites, etc. (see the Library Guide on what constitutes a scholarly source).
- “Connected” means that each of your researched, scholarly sources must be connection to a course reading in some way. You can either find a source that engages or discusses the particular critical essay or cultural text from the course calendar or you can do research on a topic or theme that is brought up in or similar to the course reading. Whatever you decide, you’ll explain the connection in your quote analysis.
- “Deep Dive” means you may also include more than one researched source per course text. You can, for instance, research two sources on a critical essay and two on a cultural text or even include 4 sources that are all about one essay or text to give some in-depth engagement with one course reading. Alternatively, you may also include 4 sources on 4 different course texts.
- If you’d like, you can focus your research within a broad topic, on a field of knowledge, or on a really specific object of analysis within that topic. For example, you can produce an AB based on a specific topic (like racialized hypersexuality, the sex/gender/desire matrix, or a particular sexual stereotype) or a specific discipline (for instance, focus on the sociology of sex) or an interdisciplinary one that pursues a critical research question through multiple fields of knowledge (for instance, focused on how sociology, cultural studies, biology, psychology, etc. engage questions about transphobia and sexual violence).
- You can also not worry about a focus and research the texts that interest you and then figure out how to connect them when you’re done. Good research has been done in both ways.
- Write a Literature Review paragraph that asks a Critical Research Question and frames your AB with a discussion of some connections you see between your sources and our course readings. Your Literature Review should synthesize the ideas in your AB entries by discussing some “threads” of connection you see developing in your research. Part of this review should also discuss your research’s connection to a class text/concept, which can be anything but must be articulated by you. Include a CRQ that indicates the focus of your Annotated Bibliography. This can be a broad or a more specific question and you can use or adapt a CRQ from your or another student’s WAQs.
Annotated Bibliography Format
To do a substantial, comprehensive Annotated Bibliography, follow all of the four steps below closely for each entry.
- Cite each source.
Begin with the MLA (or other) Works Cited format of your source at the top of the page.
2. Write a précis that introduces and summarizes each source.
- First, introduce each source with a) the full name of the author, b) a brief bio, c) the full title and disciplinary framing of the chapter/essay d) the book/journal that contains it, and e) the date of publication. Then give a summary of the essay’s argument as a whole.
- Then, summarize each source by processing the information in the entire source down into a paragraph that discusses in your own words and using no quotes the main claim of the essay/article/chapter, any subclaims and/or important concepts, and the source’s evidence, including the way it uses that evidence to support its argument. To do this well, read the source carefully both 1) conceptually for meaning to understand its main intervention/claim and to discuss a few of the main point(s), and 2) rhetorically to trace the argument briefly by discussing how the main points are made and how the article progresses using its evidence.
- Analyze one quote from each source that engages our course essay or text in some way or analyze one quote to explain how it relates or connects to our course readings or topics.
3. Evaluate each source
Then evaluate each source’s credibility by using the Library Guides: Evaluating Sources page (link on Canvas) to discuss the source’s:
- Currency: When was it published? Has it been revised/discounted by then?
- Relevance: For what topics might this essay be useful? Be specific in naming 1-2 possibilities. What ways of thinking does it offer? Who is the audience? What is its scope – how much information or history is it trying to cover?
- Authority: Is it scholarly (by an expert in the field, in a peer-reviewed journal, with a bibliography)? Who is the author (give a brief bio)? What are the author’s credentials? Who is the publisher?
- Accuracy: What is the evidence given? Does it have enough evidence to make its case and is the evidence handled well? Are there unsupported claims or misuse of evidence?
- Purpose: Why was it written? What are its intervention (and into what disciplines/fields)? Is there bias (this means obvious agenda, not just a focus on one claim/argument)? What kinds of biases are apparent? Is it objective? Is it an opinion or a reasoned argument?
4. Discuss the stakes and implications of each source
Finally, end each entry by discussing the stakes of each source and elaborate on its particular implications for your research question. Discuss the stakes by articulating why this source is important and for whom. Why is this essay/concept important? What new ideas are offered? What disciplines or areas of study might use this essay? Who might this essay/concept be helping? Discuss the implications by offering some thoughts and a specific example or two of how this essay or a particular concept or interpretation in it are useful. How can you use this essay/concept to think about sex, sexuality, race, gender, etc. in America? How can you use the new ways of thinking it offers to convince people of how sexuality is a form of racial and/or gendered power?
Fair Warning: Annotated Bibliographies are always more work than they seem because you need to take some time to find relevant sources, process the information in them, and then write the précis and evaluation.