bibliography is your documentation of sources that you explore as you consider
a particular topic (which could lead to a longer essay). The assignment is to
read other professional writing about the text(s) that interest you as you
strive to develop a critical opinion about one or more works on the syllabus. Your
purpose is to explore.
- Your bibliography will
examine a topic that you think will be the subject of your essay, but it should
not be as focused and unified yet. The purpose of the assignment is to acquaint
you with other writing on your chosen topic, and to help you generate ideas
about your own argument. If you are having trouble finding sources on your
chosen area, broaden the focus of the bibliography as needed. (Instead of “Fatherhood
in Fences,” try “family in August Wilson’s plays” or “family in African
American drama.”) Finding the right search terms is a trial-and-error process,
so give yourself time to get it wrong a few times, and ask for help if you get
- You should include at
least seven (7) written secondary sources. The poems, album, or literary
work itself does not count as a secondary source.
- A maximum of one (1)
source may be an amateur essay or website (published only by an individual on
the Internet). All the rest should be professional writing by journalists,
critics, and scholars (although they may still be gathered on the Internet –
JSTOR and ProQuest are good databases).
- The seven sources must
contain at least four (4) works of scholarly interpretive criticism.
Other acceptable sources include interviews with the author, news articles,
book reviews, or video documentaries.
- Cite each source using
- Each bibliographic entry
should be accompanied by one descriptive and evaluative paragraph (150-200
words) that explains what content you found in the secondary source and the
usefulness of the source to your prospective essay topic. This paragraph may be
written in first-person, but the rhetoric should still be formal.
- Quote from the source
and analyze the quotes as you would in the essay itself (with page
documentation). Don’t paste the quote as a separate floating passage —
integrate it into your annotation paragraph.
- Wikipedia, about.com,
etc., are not valid sources for this assignment (although they may help lead
you to acceptable sources).
- These specific sources
are only required for this assignment. Ideally, you will incorporate some of
them into the major essay, but if you need to change sources, topics, or even
primary texts, keep researching until you have what you need.