Category Archives: English

English 1101 Annotated Bibliography Assignment


Write a prospectus paragraph and a 10 source annotated bibliography on your research topic.

Audiences: Anyone looking for background information on your author or work.


  • To develop your skills in using research tools.
  • To expand critical thinking skills by teaching how to decide upon a topic, narrow the topic into a research question, write a prospectus, and prepare research notes.
  • To provide practice in scholarly writing.


The prospectus and annotated bibliography are commonly used to propose a project and to keep the project notes organized while writing the paper.  It is important that you master the
annotated bibliography in order to plan, propose, organize, and research projects in college and beyond.

1.  Decide upon a research question

  1. Think of some aspect of the author or work you introduced to the class that interests you.  For example, if we had read Moby Dick, you might do a blog about whaling which might include information about different types of harpoons, the ships that were involved in whaling, and some of the environmental damage of whaling.
  2. Do some preliminary research by find out how much information is available on the topic you are considering. Sources you might use for this purpose include books, web sites, journals, audio and video files, and online encyclopedias.
  3. After you have some idea of the quality and quantity of research materials available, and the significant issues within that topic area, create a research question that will guide your search for information.  Think of a question that is narrow enough to answer in a simple blog.

2.   Write a prospectus paragraph (typically about a 1/2 page):  

The prospectus is the plan for your research project that you submit before actually completing the research or working on your project. It should contain the following elements:

  1. State the research topic and your research question: “In my research I want to examine the Whaling. Why was the whaling industry so important, and how did it effect the lives of people involved in it?”
  2. Delineate the main areas of your proposed research: “In order to answer this question, I will look at historical documents, websites, and read some historical journals to pinpoint specific aspects of what it was like to be a whaler.”

3.   Write the annotated bibliography:

  1. List the source in correct MLA format for sources.  Sources should be double-spaced with a hanging indent.  Sources should be organized in alphabetical order. I highly recommend using Zotero to complete this part of the assignment!
  2. Immediately following the source information, include two short paragraphs:
    • Paragraph 1:  1-2 sentences that summarize the information available in the source material.
    • Paragraph 2:  1-2 sentence explanation about how you will use that information to answer your research question.

Specific Requirements for This Assignment

This annotated bibliography assignment requires a total of ten sources in the following categories that will support your research.

Special Considerations

  1. The annotated bibliography is the first step completing a research project.  Think of this as the information gathering stage.
  2. The purpose of the preliminary research is to get an overview of the topic. The sources you consult during this step are not necessarily the ones you will use in the research for your paper; however, if you find more sources, you might want to include them in this annotated bibliography in order to keep track of them.
  3. Your research question should be narrow enough to answer in 5-7 pages but broad enough to support ten scholarly sources.
  4. In writing your annotations, do not repeat the source title in the description of the source or use the title as the explanation for how the source will help you answer the research question.

Resources to Help You with This Assignment

Interactive exercise on the Web: “How Do I Create an Annotated Bibliography?”(


Objectives of This Assignment

  1. Use the writing process to best advantage.
  2. Use technology for writing and research.
    • Select and use appropriate writing processes and strategies to produce academic writing that satisfies the needs of or can be adapted to writing in core curriculum courses.
    • Apply conventions of writing effectively in any given rhetorical context with particular regard for audience and purpose.
    • Display higher-level critical thinking skills (as defined in Bloom’s Taxonomy) in academic work.
    • Use assigned software and technological platforms.

Grading Rubric

Pts Rhetorical Situation Annotations Formatting Use of Language
100to90 Research question is appropriate for assignment; document satisfies audience expectations. Required information is provided and thorough for each source. All citations and all aspects of paper meet formatting specifications. Style, tone, and expression appropriate for academic writing; diction well chosen; syntax and mechanics virtually error-free.
89to80 Research question is sufficiently narrow but the document only partially responds to it. At least ¾ of the sources provide complete and thorough information. Occasional errors in citations and/or oversights in page formatting. Style and tone suitable for academic writing; syntax and mechanics have minor errors;  diction appropriate in most instances.
79to70 Research question lacks specificity or is too narrow or broad for audience and purpose. Half or fewer sources provide complete and thorough information. Frequent deviations from citation and/or page requirements. Style and tone fall short of academic standards; distracting usage, diction, and mechanical errors.
69to60 Research question does not address assignment or meet audience needs. Each source lacks part of required information. Formatting is of mixed styles or inconsistently used. Little resemblance to academic writing in most respects.
59to0 Research question missing or inadequate. Annotation missing or uninformative. Formatting is care­less or lacking. Frequent errors inhibit clarity and meaning.

Confessions of an Academic Platypus

imgresWOW. I have never been to an International Society of Technology and Education (ISTE) conference before.  In fact, I have never been a member of ISTE until now.  You see, ISTE is mostly a K-12 organization, so there were very few of us University Ivory Tower members there mixing with the hoi polloi of teaching.

But, I was there.  I was TOTALLY there.

Why? For the simple reason that K12 teachers are the change makers, the developers, the directors of the educational experiences our students have before entering college, and I wanted to see what they were up to, technologically. Also, frankly, I have somewhat lower expectations for what Higher Ed faculty are up to, technologically.

Innovation, Thy Name is K12.

I have come to the disturbing realization that most of the higher education establishment is dragging its heels on technology, and instead of being out in front of education (as we should be) and leading innovation, we spend our days hunched over the yellowed pages of bygone syllabi or lost in the netherworld of Learning Management Systems.

I can’t tell you how many times I have begged fellow faculty members to just take a quick look at what Google Drive can do, or how to use Zotero in the classroom.

It is difficult to explain to “Dean Scowl” (a.k.a. almost any Dean I have ever met) how important it is that I have adequate WIFI in my classroom so my students can build a PLN in Twitter, when Dean Scowl has never used Twitter (and doesn’t want to), doesn’t know what a PLN is (and doesn’t want to know), and spends our valuable 15 minutes together lecturing me on the importance of student confidentiality and the danger of using the internet.  Sigh.

EdTech-Higher Ed Edition

It was liberating, to say the least, to know that there is such a thing as a “Technology Coach” in K12, that those Technology Coaches are making real change possible in our school systems, and that both faculty and students are demonstrating daily (not just lecturing) that learning is a life-long process of: [innovate-attempt | innovate-fail | innovate-succeed | Repeat].  I would love to know when Technology Coaches are going to become something in the PostSecondary (i.e. HigherEd) world.  (I have the distinct impression that my skill-set is about five years ahead of the jobs–unfortunately!).

The Problem of Differentiation in Higher Education

There are two problems with differentiation in Higher Education:  One is that Higher Ed frowns on anyone who is out of their “niche,” . . . and the other is that the niches are ill-defined.

Let me explain.  First, I am always out of my niche (you guessed that, right?).  I’m SUPPOSED to be an English Professor. That means, of course, I should concern myself with literature and writing . . . but there is the problem.  Literature and writing have spilled out beyond the pages of books and onto screens.  It Continue reading →

Mesopotamia: Lost Civilizations

In order to prepare us for our first discussion of World Literature, I would like you to have some context of not only the history of the literature, but the way in which that information was collected.

You will find that context in this Time-Life Video: Mesopotamia: Lost Civilizations.

It is approximately 50 minutes long, and will represent your first homework assignment of the semester:

World Literature Paper #1

World Lit students should begin working on your first paper.  You will find the instructions on the WIKI.

On Monday, you need to have a rough draft of your paper complete so that you can bring it to your response group for comment.

Monday, you will meet to review your paper with your group.

The Paper is due one week from Monday to Engrade Turn-ins.

Spring Break Destinations!!

Here are some places that my high tech students should visit during Spring Break to get some ideas about your project in Second Life.  These were compiled by Dr. Flowers for the use of WISE students.

Below you will find SLURLS (second life locations).

Have fun!!


Compiled by Dr. Flowers

The history sites in this batch are particularly relevant for us, since they represent three periods from CHIS 202WS. I’ve attached a separate Word file if you’d like to distribute the list to students.

Apollo 11 Landing Site. This Elon University “construction zone for science and math education projects” offers absolutely no information about the landing site or mission. But the combination of the moon’s surface color and texture; the black, star-studded sky; and the color scheme of the space module make the site itself beautiful and worth seeing for design ideas. Also, it’s an excellent example of how a small space can accommodate a project about a complex subject. Building allowed.

Etopia Eco Village. This sim’s compact parcels, devoted to socially and environmentally sustainable living, offer great models for multimedia projects which can easily be built in a small space. The several ways of getting around and seeing the island’s varied projects include an eco-train (my term) which stops at several stations so you don’t have to stay for the entire ride. Be sure to stop at the Pavilion and try out some of the many dances. Although many of them look alike, the numerous dances suggest a small project on social dance through the ages. While creating dance moves would require lots of scripting, the project could make an excellent team study for either history or sociology, especially with a team which includes a computer science major who is or will be studying scripting. Sandbox available. Continue reading →

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