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

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


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

Thesis statements...

  • give a preview of what arguments you'll be making
  • usually one sentence long
  • last sentence of your introduction paragraph

Thesis statements should be:


lay out exactly the arguments/reasons you're using in your thesis


if you can find a definitive yes/no answer within a few minutes of Google searching, it's not arguable enough


not about all of [topic], but this little sliver of a [topic] in a particular context


or at least something you can persuasively argue

Quick Take

What part of research do you find the most difficult?
Picking a topic: 3 votes (8.33%)
Narrowing my topic down: 2 votes (5.56%)
Forming a research question: 3 votes (8.33%)
Finding sources: 4 votes (11.11%)
Picking out good sources: 10 votes (27.78%)
Organizing my information: 5 votes (13.89%)
Writing citations: 4 votes (11.11%)
Writing my paper: 5 votes (13.89%)
Total Votes: 36

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: