In the first two assignments, you have had opportunities to look at your discipline and gain a
better understanding of how that discipline operates as a discourse community (or perhaps, in
some cases, several discourse communities). Through these assignments, you have also been
able to compare and contrast your discipline with those of your classmates and instructor. This
assignment asks you to take up the challenge of working with members of other disciplines
to identify a topic (an issue, problem, controversy, or other “phenomenon,” to quote
Repko) that you share and to gather recent scholarly and professional sources on that topic
in order to provide others in your disciplines with a resource for doing their own research on that
One of the things that you’ll find as you work on this project is that there will probably be
differences not only in how your disciplines define and research the topic, but even in the
language used to identify the topic. This shouldn’t be surprising since you’re aware that different
disciplines have different assumptions and methods, and discourse communities might have
different genres and lexis. It will be important for you to discuss and share with your partners
how your discipline names and characterizes the topic as you go along in your work. It will not
do simply to work independently on the project and hope that everything “fits together” at the
For this bibliography, you must have a minimum of ten sources, such as peer-reviewed
resources, books, articles from professional/trade magazines or journals, materials from
professional/trade/disciplinary websites, timely articles from news sources or magazines (such as
The New York Times or The Economist), relevant information from government sources, and so
on. Note that Wikipedia sources are not acceptable. Sources should also be recent (within
the last 10 years) unless there’s a compelling reason to include older sources.
When writing the annotations, please 1) summarize that source and 2) assess that source
(evaluate it and analyze its value for your audience). Note: copying abstracts is not acceptable.
I recommend getting started on this project as soon as possible so that you can get a hold of any
sources that may require you to use Interlibrary Loan (Illiad).
Audience: Your group will define your audience; it might be scholars in one discipline,
practitioners or professionals in one field, or another group you identify as needing the
information you are presenting. You might even consider multiple audiences. Your choice of
audience will determine much of the direction the bibliography takes, including the sources you
choose, the way you introduce the bibliography, the citation system you use, and the terms or
concepts you define in the glossary. It’s therefore very important that you think carefully about
your audience(s) and its (their) needs.
Organization: Your annotated bibliography will begin with a background section, giving some
of the history of investigation into the problem. It should then move through select published
materials on the topic in some organized manner. The simplest form of organization for your
bibliography would be alphabetical order, but that type of organization might also be the least
useful. The body of the annotated bibliography might be organized by problem, by genre, by
discipline, or by chronology, discussing individual contributions to the field. Given the
interdisciplinary nature of this project, one organizational challenge will be whether to
emphasize disciplinary perspectives or to keep those perspectives in the background and focus
on the topic and its related research. Either way (or some other way) could work fine; the choice
of topic and audience will likely determine your approach.
Citation Format: Decide with your partner(s) which format would work the best for your
Glossary: Depending on the audience you choose, you will not be able to rely on insider
knowledge or vocabulary, particularly as you present primary research. The glossary should
define discipline-specific terms and concepts that a non-specialist audience would need to
understand your annotations.
Presentation of the Bibliography: You may decide to present the annotated bibliography as a
“traditional” Word or PDF document, or you might decide to present it as an online document,
making use of links to sources that are available on the Web or embedded files (such as videos)
as necessary. See the examples on BlackBoard for models.
Sample student-written bibliography: http://neuengw3315.weebly.com/
Parts of the Bibliography:
Introduction (3+ paragraphs): Briefly state the issue or research question and give
relevant background information. You will probably need to make use of some of your
sources in the introduction.
Annotated Bibliography (10+ sources): Whether articles are scholarly are not, they
should be carefully chosen. Wikipedia articles, advertising (in most cases) or papers from
sites like “freeessays.com”1
are not acceptable. It is also your responsibility to evaluate
sources. While bias doesn’t automatically disqualify a source, it is your responsibility to
find out what a source’s bias might be, what the origins of that bias are, and what the
effects of that bias are on the text.
Reflection: Together with your partners, you will write a 2+-page reflection on the process of
working on this assignment together. Describe how you and your partner(s) worked together on
such aspects of the assignment as choosing a topic, an audience, and a purpose; gathering and
selecting sources; writing and revising the annotations; and writing and revising the introduction.
What were some of the challenges as you worked together? Were there false starts or dead ends
in terms of topic choice, audience/purpose decisions, etc.? What did you learn about how
scholars and professionals in other disciplines/professions think, do research, and solve
problems? How effectively did you work together as partners? Were there problems with
schedules, etc., that interfered with your ability to work as a group? Finally, consider your
experience with this project in light of the Writing Program Student Learning Goals. Be specific
in your reflection so that I can get a detailed understanding of your process and what you learned
If you visit this site, don’t blame me if your computer gets a virus.
from that process.
Grading Criteria for Annotated Bibliography:
1. Introduction states issue clearly and gives relevant background information
2. Appropriate sources are carefully chosen (at least 10 sources)
3. Summaries demonstrate careful reading and a clear understanding of the sources
4. Summaries “lay out the arguments” of the sources rather than simply listing the
5. Evaluations demonstrate careful reading of the sources in light of the students’
audience and purpose
6. Demonstrates careful and fair attention to differences among positions
7. Glossary explains terminology or concepts for audience
8. Shows effective use of citation conventions
9. Demonstrates careful crafting, including formatting, with respect for students’ primary
10. Consistently uses tone, style, and vocabulary appropriate to audience
11. Includes a carefully written, insightful reflection on the writing process
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