Bib & Methods of Research
Bib & Methods of Research ENG 599
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Date Created: 10/30/15
Prof Derek P Royal ENG 599 7 Bibliography and Methods of Research Writing an Annotated Bibliography Much of what is below can be found in James L Hamer s On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography 2quotd edition New York MLA 2000 perhaps the single best source on writing an extended annotated bibliography Before you get started you need to decide on several preliminary issues Hamer suggests that you do the following 1 2 Equot Reexamine your author or subject carefully and make sure you are very familiar with the issues themes and potential controversies involved Decide what kind of sources you will include in your annotated bibliography For instance you need to decide if you will only include English language works which may critically limit your bibliography whether or not you will include annotations of book reviews even brief ones if it s necessary to include unpublished dissertations in your bibliography and for some you just might need to if you re going to include works that are outright misdirected or even outrageous in some cases you might whether or not you should include less scholarly and more popular references to your author or topic and how you will deal with Webbased resources If applicable you may need to announce your project via a scholarly forum For instance if you advertise your project in a journal or on a listserv you might nd other scholars who can give you advice or who have direct knowledge of your subject area Decide on an appropriate style manual familiarize yourself with it and strictly adhere to its guidelines There are three basic ways of organizing your bibliographical entries and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages l 2 Alphabetically by author gt Advantages in shorter annotated bibliographies that cover only 1025 entries this can be an easy way for readers to nd your information gt Disadvantages in longer bibliographies it can be cumbersome for readers to have to look through all of your entries according to the author s name Since readers will probably be looking at the content of your entries listing them by author may not contribute to readability If you do have a long list alphabetized by author please make sure the wording of your annotation is clear and meticulous so as to make indexing and hypertext linking easier Chronologically by the date of publication gt Advantages listing entries this way is appropriate when you want to emphasize that scholarship on your topic has developed in a particular historical manner with different stages You may also want to list chronologically if your bibliographic focus isn t on just one work or topic gt D39 J if 39 39 39 39 d 39 I isn t important to your topic then a large list organized in this manner may not be the clearest way of presenting your information As with alphabetical listings keep in mind that the wording of your annotation is very important here one that will alloy easy indexing and hypertext linking 3 Topically by subject or theme gt V Advantages this kind of organization would be appropriate if you re working with an author who has written in several genres or when the scholarship you re citing focuses on individual works multiple authors or distinct topics For longer more extensive annotated bibliographies this style may be most useful Disadvantages arrangement by topic subject may not work with shorter bibliographies And if you have a long list organized in this manner you need to make sure that your annotations are carefully worded With multiple subtopics readings might find your presentation a little confusing without adequate indexinghyperlinking Also using this method may deemphasize historical development if that is important to your work According to Hamer there are three major steps to compiling your bibliographic entries identifying the scholarly works obtaining them and writing the entries 1 Identify the scholarly works gt V V V V Survey existing bibliographies and reference works and determine which ones you will need to use extensively These will include not only the most obvious reference sources e g MLA International Bibliography Annual Bibliography of English Language anal Literature Modern Language Studies but also specialized ones that focus on a particular author topic genre or theme Decide on the order in which you plan on searching the bibliographies You may want to begin with those focusing on your particular author or subject then broaden your search to look at more general bibliographies and databases Become thoroughly acquainted with the reference works or databases you investigate Every bibliographical work has its own format and organization and to save yourself a lot of headache later on you should take some time to look at the introductory or explanatory material if any to each of your resources Keep careful records of all of your bibliographical entries including information on where you found them You will discover that many of the references sources you look at will overlap in content Knowing what you ve already found and where you found it can save you a lot of time You don t want to be repeating your notes or entries throughout your project So as you research your reference sources consult your master list in order to avoid duplication If you come across any vague ambiguous or what may at first appear to be useless information don t automatically discard it You might want to investigate it further to see if it s something that might actually be pertinent to your research 2 Obtain the material gt V V Start with your own library either through physical holdings or fulltext databases and see what materials they have If your library does not have a particular journal article or book that you need request the item from interlibrary loan Please keep in mind that some items may take a long time to acquire so do not wait until the last minute to request your source As soon as you final that your library does not have the journal article or book order it If there are libraries that you are willing to travel to check out their holdings online if available This may be a quicker and more efficient way than requesting things V V via interlibrary loan especially if you need more than two or three sources from the same library If you can t obtain a copy of your source from your own library or through interlibrary loan you can try the following 0 Write directly to the publisher of the book or the journal and see if you can purchase a copy Publishers may even have copies of out of print books or older journal volumes 0 If a work is too fragile or rare to be loaned ask a library if you can purchase a micro lm or photocopy of the work 0 Write to other scholars who have cited the work and see if they will send you a photocopy or summary of the text if they have a copy 0 Try and contact the author of the source and see if he or she will send you an offprint or photocopy of hisher work 0 Write to the library of the sponsoring institution the college or university that houses the journal for instance and see if they can send you a copy or give you more information on how to find it Obtaining dissertations can be rather costly especially if your project rests heavily on them In some cases you may have to rely on dissertation abstracts such as those found in Dissertation Abstracts International 3 Write the entries gt gt V V V gt As you begin to obtain your works start writing your entries This way you won t feel bogged down by having to write all of your entries at the same time Read your source carefully and completely Do not merely rely on brief summaries or abstracts if they are available Along with this it is important to take extensive notesiif not begin writing the entryisoon after you receive and then read your source It will be fresh in you mind at this point and this way you can avoid having to reread your source at a latter date because you forgot the content or are unable to make sense of your slim notes on it Be familiar with your style manual Whether you use MLA Chicago APA or some other style manual it is important to feel comfortable with your style so that you won t have to keep looking up the most basic organizational information Decide on your taxonomy or the specific words you will choose to use in your annotations Think in terms of subject headings or subtopics These words will be keys to an effective index or hyperlink Determine which kind of annotation you will write There are two basic types of annotation paraphrase or commentary 0 In a paraphrase entry you are succinctly rewording what the author has said without any commentary as to what the author is doing With this style you should write in complete grammatically correct sentences In a commentary entry you are commenting on what the author has done in the work You may even find it necessary to make a judgment as to the author s focus approach or conclusions but remember to develop a professional tone In commentary annotations your sentences can be subj ectless for example Using Cixous s binary approach argues that Updike s female characters are nothing more than caricatures that merely showcase Rabbit s more positive qualities Be consistent in your style of presentation Do not mix paraphrase with commentary annotations O V VVV As a rule in your annotations use the historical present tense Avoid the passive voice Vary your word usage and style and do not overuse certain annotation verbs such as discusses and examines see Hamer 4548 for a list of verb suggestions Above all your annotation should get to the heart of your source and distill the essence of the author s work For our purposes this semester in ENG 599 V V V V We are using The Chicago Manual ofStyle 15Lh ed so all of your bibliographic listings should correspond to this style Please make sure you follow the Chicago Style exactly If you have any questions about formatting and can t nd the answer in the manual please come see me Your annotated bibliography should be comprised of at least twenty entries and each entry should be between 100150 words Since your annotated bibliography will not be that long you should organize your material either alphabetically by author or chronologically by the date of publication see above Use the system that best suits your purposes but pick one system or organization and stick to it You may use either the paraphrase or commentary style of annotation see above But again pick one style and stick to it Since yours will be a relatively short bibliography you will not need to designate numbers for each entry as you may notice in booklength bibliographies you look up Here is an example of an annotated entry using the paraphrasing style Note the layout Fallon Lee The Nebbish King Spiritual Renewal in Woody Allen s Manhattan In WoodyAllen A Casebook edited by Kimball King 4754 New York Routledge 2001 Fallon s essay provides an indepth reading of Allen s cinematic masterpiece Manhattan Avoiding any biographical analysis of sex and age disparityia much too simple approach he feels especially given Allen s wellpublicized breakup with Mia FarrowiFallon instead approaches the lm as a modern retelling of the Fisher King myth Woody Allen the king of Manhattan sets the bankrupt landscape of New York City as the backdrop to a heroic quest for spiritual rejuvenation For Fallon the character of Ike played by Allen becomes synonymous with New York and as such the vitality and possible regeneration of the city is linked to his attempts to nd meaning among its rituals and inhabitants As Fallon argues the lmmaker uses the relationship between Ike and his teenage girlfriend Tracey as a symbolic attempt to restore his faith in humanity the success of which is nonetheless equivocal