Sunday, February 26, 2006

Annotated Bibligraphies and Electronic Research Notebooks for Improved Research Papers

Podcast.

One of the most valuable assignments for an online course is the electronic research notebook. It can be used in any course, but is particularly useful in writing courses that prepare individuals for academic research and scholarly discourse production (essays, papers, capstones, essay tests, and a thesis). The electronic research notebook is, in essence, an annotated bibliography. The students can build and store an electronic notebook on a notebook computer, but this refers to something else. The electronic research notebook is the place where one records the results of research, and summarizes the important aspects of papers, books, and articles one has found as they relate to your research project.

What is the purpose? Keeping an electronic notebook in which one builds an annotated bibliography is an excellent way to take notes on research and keep the citations in their proper format. Moreover, going through this procedure allows one to read your articles in a focused manner. It allows an individual the chance to organize one's thoughts and make connections between the topic and what others have had to say. What follows below is an example of the assignment.

The Electronic Research Notebook Assignment:

Please write a one-paragraph summary for each of ten references you found in conjunction with exploring your research paper topic.

In your summary paragraph, please include the following:
--author name, title of article, where you found it
--citation following the style guide format you choose
--what is the main point of the paper?
--what is the author's position?
--what are some of the statistics that the author uses to support the claims he/she makes?
--describe a specific example or a scene that the author describes that you found to be very persuasive, or helpful to your understanding

So. The Electronic Research Notebook consists of annotated bibliographies.
What, exactly, is the annotated bibliograpy?

An annotated bibliography consists of a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

The annotated bibliography forms the foundation of a literature review, contexts and background of a research topic, or the history of ideas in a particular topic. It is a useful step in the preparation of a research paper, master’s thesis, or doctoral dissertation.

WRITING THE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

This could be the same as above. Or, one could change the questions slightly -- the key is to give the student sufficient flexibility to explore the topic that he or she wants to explore.

For each work you are describing:

Read the work carefully, and think about the purpose of your investigation and why you read it.
Questions while reading:

How does the work connect to what you are writing about?
Who wrote it?
What makes it credible?
What have others written about the same topic?
How is this work the same or different?

First, make a list of citations. Use the style you will use for a paper you may write. The most commonly used are MLA and APA. Briefly examine, read, and review the actual items. Then select works that help you build an argument, or analyze your research topic.

The following bullet list repeats what came before, but instead of writing a paragraph, it is perfectly acceptable to make a bullet list. Later, when writing the literature review, it will be necessary to develop a smoothly articulated paragraph:

--author name, title of article, where you found it
--citation following the style guide format you choose
--what is the main point of the paper?
--what is the author's position?
--what are some of the statistics that the author uses to support the claims he/she makes?
--describe a specific example or a scene that the author describes that you found to be very persuasive, or helpful to your understanding

SAMPLE CITATION STYLES

MLA Style - http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/humanities/english.html

IN-TEXT CITATION

Matt Sundeen notes that drivers with cell phones place an estimated 98,000 emergency calls each day and that the phones "often reduce emergency response times and actually save lives" (Sundeen 2000).

ENTRY IN THE LIST OF WORKS CITED

Sundeen, Matt. "Cell Phones and Highway Safety: 2000 State
Legislative Update." National Conference of State
Legislatures. Dec. 2000. 9 pp. 27 Feb. 2001
.

APA style -- http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/social_sciences/intext.html

IN-TEXT CITATION
Rumbaugh (1995) reported that "Kanzi's comprehension of over 600 novel sentences of request was very comparable to Alia's; both complied with requests without assistance on approximately 70% of the sentences" (p. 722).

ENTRY IN THE LIST OF REFERENCES
Rumbaugh, D. (1995) . Primate language and cognition: Common
ground. Social Research, 62, 711-730.

Writing Survival Guide: http://www.writingsurvivalguide.com



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