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Assignment | Social Impact Annotated Bibliography (Pentecost): Getting Started

ENGL 1301 | Prof. R. Pentecost (Fall 2021)

Assignment

Your Goals:
  • 5 total sources:
  • MLA format
  • Thoughtful annotation justifying each of your sources
  • 300-word topic introduction synthesizing your research-informed learnings

Topic, Research Question, Thesis

First, you develop and narrow down your topic -- the general idea of what you're going to be researching. From that, you need to develop your research question, i.e. what is the question you are attempting to answer by doing your research? This, in turn, will form the basis for your paper's thesis (your claim/argument/answer) which you'll explicitly state in your introduction.

From your central topic, you develop your research question(s) to investigate, and then finally develop a thesis statement which answers your chosen question.

Develop Your Thesis

Your thesis is where you put forward your argument in a concise, declarative way. It is typically one sentence long and comes at the end of your introduction paragraph. You should only develop your thesis after you've started doing your research. You can have a thesis in mind as you start your research, of course, but be prepared to change it if you find it's unsupportable with the information available to you.

Thesis statements should be:


Specific


Contestable


Narrow


Provable


  • Specific - lay out exactly the arguments/reasons you're using in your thesis
  • Contestable - if you can find a definitive yes/no answer within a few minutes of Google searching, it's not arguable enough
  • Narrow - not about all of privacy ever, but this little sliver of a privacy issue in this particular time and society
  • Provable - or at least something you can persuasively argue.

Your thesis statement should essentially give your reader a preview of what arguments you'll be presenting over the course of your paper.

Quick Take

What part of research do you find the most difficult?
Picking a topic: 3 votes (8.57%)
Narrowing my topic down: 2 votes (5.71%)
Forming a research question: 3 votes (8.57%)
Finding sources: 3 votes (8.57%)
Picking out good sources: 10 votes (28.57%)
Organizing my information: 5 votes (14.29%)
Writing citations: 4 votes (11.43%)
Writing my paper: 5 votes (14.29%)
Total Votes: 35

Research Process

Research process steps: 1, pick a general direction. 2, do some broad background research. 3, Select a specific topic and start your deeper research. 4, Let your research results guide your thesis and talking points. 5, Assemble your argumetn and evidence into a logical order. 6, Write, re-write, edit, and revise.

Managing Your Research

Your process to capture sources and citations will be very individual, but be consistent and choose a tool to help organize your research. Some suggested tools:

OneDrive

OneDrive - 1 TB free storage for Lone Star College students.

Evernote

Evernote - The basic version is free. Works across all mobile devices. Create notebooks for each course or writing assignment. Be sure to download the Web Clipper as well.

Zotero

Zotero is a free, open access extension that runs in the Firefox and Chrome browsers that's designed to gather, download, and tag your research. Helpful tutorials.

Zotero

ZoteroBib is a free citation tool that supports MLA, APA, CMOS, and thousands of others. Use this instead of the full Zotero if you just need some quick citations.