YourBibliographic Essaywill be on a single work by a single author in our text (the author and text do not have to be on the syllabus, however). This is not an argumentative essay; instead, your task is to find the most significant criticism and interpretation relating to the text you choose, and summarize it in a2,400-wordreport (approx. eight pages, not including the Works Cited page).
You should have at leasteightcritical sources; at leastthreeshould bebooks, and the rest should bescholarly articles(in print, or found through the library online databases). In other words,don't useopen Internet resources -- including Wikipedia -- as resources for this essay (although you might use them for "grounding" yourself). Start planning early! See the first week's assignments. Also, note the sample bibliographic essay posted on our class site.
You must followMLAdocumentation style.
Your first paragraph will present your central focus: what key issue or issues unify or relate the materials you will summarize. After that, you basically report on the articles and books you have chosen; summarize the main points relevant to your central focus. It is not necessary to critique the sources. Use paraphrase and brief quotation; learn the difference between them. Learn how to frame a quotation. Cite according to MLA guidelines, carefully.
Then, present a brief summary conclusion.
Start early, and allow several work-sessions to get this done properly.
You will most likely need to use the UH, TSU, or Rice libraries for this assignment; however, there are works in the HCC system libraries as well, and article databases accessible through the HCCS library web site and the Houston Public Library web site. Become familiar with the appropriate indexes.
Submit a Working Bibliography, or a list of potential resources, by the deadline listed; also submit a Draft by the deadline listed. Name the attached file
I WILL NOT ACCEPT drafts or final submissions that are not named and submitted properly. The Works Cited, in the draft as well as in the final submission, should start on a separate page (ctrl + Enter at the end of the essay).
Read the Skills Lectures on Research and Plagiarism. If you plagiarize any part of this (or any other) assignment, you risk failing the course.
If you visit a tutor (or send the draft to an online tutor), make sure they see a copy of these instructions; explain that the essay is NOT an argumentative or interpretive essay, but a summary of critical sources. Otherwise, they will say that you "need a thesis." You don't; you just need an introduction that provides a focus for the summaries to follow.
You should submit the finished essay electronically via the "Assignments" tool provided in the appropriate module. No late essays will be accepted unless you communicate with me and receive approval.
Name the final version:
I recommend saving your work regularly as you work on the computer; print out a hard copy for yourself when you submit the essay to me.
Grade Criteria: Your grade for this assignment will be based on the quality of your prose, your attention to scholarly format (in citation, quotation, and paraphrasing), the competence of your research, the quality of your synthesis, and the overall accuracy and comprehensiveness of your report. See the related rubric.
Remember that your Bibliographic Essay draft is due nextSunday 11/12. This is the practice run for the final version, which is the single most important grade of the course -- for which you will be graded on development, content, language use, format, appropriateness of sources, and research presentation. Thus, you should take this draft very seriously, so I can comment on all parameters, allowing you to revise carefully and get the best grade possible.
Students who do poorly on the final version are likely to fail the course (see the assignment percentages on the syllabus or in Grades). Those students are usually the ones who did not read my announcements, look at the samples, or carefully review the supplements for this project (several detailed handouts posted earlier in the semester on the Modules page). This type of paper is easily done if you simply follow instructions and note the parameters illustrated in the examples.
You must use acceptable scholarly resources: print books and articles from academic journals -- not public-domain scanned books from a century ago, and not open-Internet sources. You must cite using tag lines; you must write cohesive summaries; you must follow MLA guidelines carefully, and provide a Works Cited page following MLA -- not APA or any other method.
Your first paragraph should be an overview of the critical trends in the works summarized in the rest of the essay. You should assume your reader is generally familiar with the primary work (the Inferno, for example, if that is the work you are finding criticism for); so, don't summarize the primary work at all.
Your draft should be at least a few pages long.
Let me know if you have questions. I look forward to seeing your work.
After you have written the essay, you will list the works cited in the essay at the end, and that will be a Works Cited. Before writing, the essay, you need to find the critical works you are going to read, summarize, and cite. That is the working bibliography; since some works will end up not being useful, or since some books you won't be able to find, it is a changeable list, or a provisional list -- you can take away and add sources as you proceed, without showing me.
In the essay, you won't be summarizing the primary work itself; in fact, assume as a convention of the essay that your reader has a general familiarity with the primary work (Beowulf, theIliad, etc.) Your first paragraph (which you will probably write last) will present an overview of the general ideas to follow. Then, paragraph by paragraph, you will introduce the critical source in question, citing the author and article or book: "Jane Tompkins, in her article [title], argues that..." -- and simply summarize, with paraphrase and short quotation, what the main or relevant ideas are regarding the primary work. Use reiterative tag lines with last name only ("Tompkins also notes...") as the summary proceeds.Then, after a paragraph or two, move on to the next source. So, you are summarizing a series of critical works about the primary work -- not the primary work itself.
You can focus on a particular aspect of the primary work, such as the women inBeowulf, or a particular important passage, or a theme. However, it is also acceptable simply to summarize the most recent (fifteen or twenty years) criticism, or the best criticism, or any other general selection principle.