Annotated Bibliography and Source Synthesis Project
This is the first major component of the project.
The annotated bibliography assignment asks you to develop a narrow research question about a current (arose within the last two years) and unresolved (not yet settled) issue you chose and compile sources. The sources you compile will provide evidence and information to help you answer your question about the issue.
The annotated bibliography is a key step in inquiry-based, or question derived research. You are locating essential conversations and evidence about the issue. You will not need to formulate a thesis at this point. However, keep in mind you will need a clear and specific audience who has the power to make a change for your Letter to a Stakeholder/Advocacy Letter. This research will lead you to that next project.
Part One: Identify an issue and develop your research question.
Finding a current and unresolved issue in your field can be challenging, but if you know where to look, you can find an abundance of ongoing conversations in public writing to explore. Some places to look for current, unresolved issues are listed below.
-Recent legislation that has been Introduced in congress or in state legislatures that is relevant to your field, but has not been voted upon. CONGRESS.GOV is a great source for tracking federal legislation.
-Major newspapers such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal often publish articles relevant to issues in your field of study.
-Trade publications in your field also publish articles about current trends and/or controversies in the field
-The advocacy pages of major professional associations for your academic discipline or future profession list the issues for which the association “advocates” to help the professional.
One you have an issue that meets these requirements, use the instructional materials in our course to craft a narrowed research question that the sources you are about to compile can help answer.
Use your research question, and the search terms it can yield, to begin compiling sources for your annotated bibliography.
Part 2: Compile your annotated bibliography
List seven highly credible sources that help you understand the scope of a current and unresolved issue in your field and the audience who have decision-making authority over it. (Note: To arrive at seven great sources you will review many more than that). At least two of those sources use be from a peer-reviewed article published in a scholarly journal. The reminder can be from major newspapers, trade publications, federal agencies (good for data), notable blogs written by credentialed authors, and prestigious periodicals.
You will need seven sources that address the following aspects of research:
-One to two source for background information about the issue (scholarly source are usually good for this purpose)
-One to two sources that provides evidence about a potential audience someone with decision-making authority over the issue you are investigating
-Two sources that offer differing perspectives on the issue
-One to two source that vestibules why this issue is current and unresolved in your field
Part Three: Writing the Annotations
Refer to Purdue Owl’s reference on annotated bibliography.
Alphabetize your sources (per APA citations type)
For each of your seven sources, do the following:
1) Write a full source citation in APA format with a hanging indention.
2) Write a one to two paragraph summary about the source. You must include the
(scholarly article, trade publication article, news article, etc. in the first line of your summary.
3) Write one to two paragraphs evaluating the source. Explain why this source is credible and how you will use it/why it will help you in writing your letter to a stakeholder.
Make sure your sources lead you to an issue in your field that meets these requirements:
—Current (arisen within the last two years)
—Unresolved (the issue is not settled)
—Has a researchable audience (stakeholder) who has decision-making authority over the issue
This is the final component of the project.
The source synthesis should be on a separate, final page.
Once you complete your annotated bibliography, you will step back and synthesis the sources you chose, which means to identify the relationships among them that reveal the “conversation” about the current and unresolved issue you chose.
First, write your academic discipline and your narrowed research question.
Then, in a short essay of two to four paragraphs, you will respond to synthesize and reflection questions about what you have learned through your research. Here are the questions:
Synthesis (approximately one-two paragraphs):
Identify the similarities and differences you see among the perspectives of the sources you annotated. Keep in mind that articles do not always cling to one perspective only. Read carefully.
Explain how these articles contribute to the overall conversation about the issue you chose: (a) What major themes or trends do you see emerging from your research? (b) What gaps are missing from your research so far? (c) What research will you still need to do to fill in those gaps?
Identify the leading candidate for your audience (stakeholder) that emerged from your research. The audience is usually a specific person who will be making a decision to resolve the issue you chose. In your synthesis, address the role the stakeholder plays in the ongoing conversation about the issue you chose.
Cite the sources accurately using the documentation style (APA).
Reflection (approximately one-two paragraphs):
1. Describe your experience shifting from the “collection” mode of traditional college research to an inquiry, or questioned-based, approach. How did having a question to answer to guide your research affect how you conducted your search and how will this shape your research process in the future?
2. How did synthesizing the sources you included help you refine your research question and/or influence your choice of audience?