Annotated Bibliography Assignment

Points: 100 (10% of your overall grade)

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, films, etc.) you have used or you are currently using for researching a topic. You may produce a bibliography at any point in your research.

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A works cited page, in contrast, is a list of sources that can only accompany your final essay or article—the word “cited” implies that you have already referred to and cited the source in your own writing. So this assignment is a bibliography, because you have not yet produced your research papers nor incorporated quotes into your own writing. (The final draft of your term paper should include a works cited page at the end, but you will have already turned in your annotated bibliography, so you do not need to include your annotation paragraphs again.)

An annotation is a summary, evaluation of, and/or commentary on a source. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and brief evaluation of each of the sources.

For this assignment, you will list and annotate—in MLA format—at least two primary and seven secondary sources that you plan to use, or are thinking about using, for the final paper assignment in this class.
(So, for this assignment, that’s a total of 9 sources. Remember that for your final papers, you will need at least three primary sources and ten secondary sources, for a total of 13!)
Remember, a primary source is a text or object you are directly making a claim about (“the 1966 film depicts Batman as an official hero…”) and a secondary source provides you with some tools (historical or cultural context, theories or philosophies, definitions, expert reviews, etc) to help you support those claims.

Primary Sources: any or all of them may be from class, for example the Batman films or comics we’ve covered; alternately, any or all of them may be from outside class, for example Percy Jackson novels or superhero television shows. For this assignment, you’ll need at least two; for the final paper, at least three.

Secondary Sources: no more than three of these may be secondary sources assigned in class—this means you will need to use your research skills to locate more reliable expert secondary sources. Anything on your Recommended Reading Lists is allowed, and those are all already-approved sources; you may also use other (not assigned) essays from your Signs of Life book, and make use of IVC’s research tools and databases. For this assignment, you’ll need at least seven secondary sources; for the final paper, at least ten.

Note: you are not permanently tied to the sources you list in this assignment; you may change your mind later on when writing the paper, if you find that your claims or arguments change! You will most likely need to add more sources while writing; this is the minimum for this bibliography assignment.

Directions: You will need to create a list of entries in standard MLA format. Please follow each entry with your annotations for that entry. Annotations should be roughly 3-4 sentences per entry and cover the following topics:

Summary: If a primary source, what is the main overall plot? If a secondary source, what is the author’s main argument or thesis? What is the overall point of this source? What topics are covered? In other words, if someone asked you what this source is about, what would you say?

Evaluation: How is this source useful to you specifically? What does this source contribute to the claims you want to make in your own project? For example, if it is a primary source, what useful evidence or details are you planning to use? If it is a secondary source, does it provide definitions of important concepts, or historical context, or some other helpful tool? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

(student examples on the back)

Some Student Examples:

Primary Sources
1. McKinley, Robin. The Blue Sword. HarperCollins, 1982.
This novel follows the journey of the orphan girl Harry Crewe as she becomes a warrior and ultimately a hero in a foreign country, becoming adopted into that culture and inheriting a magical sword. This source is useful for my project because it provides an example of a traditional hero’s journey, but with a nontraditional heroine, someone who challenges stereotypical gender roles and becomes a heroine in her adopted culture, showing a growing desire in the 1980s for heroes who face issues of postcolonial legacies and gender equality.

Secondary Sources
1. Tolkien, J.R.R. “On Fairy-Stories.” Andrew Lang Lecture, University of St Andrews, 1938. The Tolkien Reader, Ballantine Books, 1966, pp. 33-99.
This source provides Tolkien’s definition of fairy-stories, stories which involve magic, and their main functions, including escape, recovery, and consolation. This source is useful for my project because I can evaluate how well my primary sources fulfill each of these functions for the reader, which will help me compare the primary sources. This will also help me see which functions seem to be more important at different time periods, for example in 1918 or 1983, indicating changing cultural desires and anxieties about escape or consolation.


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