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Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from a variety of sources, as well as identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, questions, and evidence.

Purpose/Goals: After completing this section of the course and this assignment, students should be able to analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from a variety of sources, as well as identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, questions, and evidence. More specifically, students should be able to locate books, articles, and web sources that relate to their topics and analyze the usefulness and credibility of those sources. They should also be able to distinguish between scholarly and non-scholarly research. Finally, they will present their findings in an appropriately academic format, following the formal grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats learned in English 1101 and outlined in the syllabus.Context: Professional writers incorporate a number of different kinds of research and sources into their writing: books, newspaper and magazine articles, personal interviews, and online research, just to list a few. One of the ways that professionals organize research, share their own research, and learn from the research of others, is by writing a bibliographic essay.Assignment: For this assignment, you should either select a topic from the Research Topics Master List. Your topic choice must be approved by the instructor—this can be done in person or via email. You will then complete a bibliographic essay for this topic, which will consist of an introduction, four sources that are each analyzed in a descriptive/ evaluative paragraph (approximately 150-200 words in length apiece), and a conclusion. Your essay should consist of at least three of the following different kinds of sources: 1 book 1 article or essay from a print anthology about the topic 1 newspaper or magazine article 1 website devoted to this topic 1 scholarly journal article 1 government publication (print or electronic) 1 interview with a relevant source 1 film (documentary or otherwise)For each of these items you will need to provide a proper MLA citation at the end of your work (Works Cited List)—see the Online Research and Documentation Guide for assistance. What is an Bibliographic Essay? An bibliographic essay introduces readers to a topic and evaluates resources related to that topic. A good bibliographic essay is not a discussion of a topic so much as it is an introduction to the best resources available that discuss a topic. A key purpose of the essay is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and usefulness of the sources cited.**For more information, visit BIBLIOGRAPHIC ESSAY: THE PROCESS Creating a bibliographic essay calls for the application of a variety of skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed and thoughtful research. First, locate and record citations to sources that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic. Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style. Write a clear analysis that addresses the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.Critically Analyzing Information SourcesAuthor: What are the author’s credentials–institutional affiliation (where he or she works), educational background, past writings, or experience? Is the book or article written on a topic in the author’s area of expertise? You can use the various Who’s Who publications for the U.S. and other countries and for specific subjects and the biographical information located in the publication itself to help determine the author’s affiliation and credentials.Date of Publication: When was the source published? This date is often located on the face of the title page below the name of the publisher. If it is not there, look for the copyright date on the reverse of the title page. On Web pages, the date of the last revision is usually at the bottom of the home page, sometimes every page. Is the source current or out-of-date for your topic? Topic areas of continuing and rapid development, such as the sciences, demand more current information. On the other hand, topics in the humanities often require material that was written many years ago. At the other extreme, some news sources on the Web now note the hour and minute that articles are posted on their site.Intended Audience: What type of audience is the author addressing? Is the publication aimed at a specialized or a general audience? Is this source too elementary, too technical, too advanced, or just right for your needs?Objective Reasoning: Is the information covered fact, opinion, or propaganda? It is not always easy to separate fact from opinion. Facts can usually be verified; opinions, though they may be based on factual information, evolve from the interpretation of facts. Skilled writers can make you think their interpretations are facts. Does the information appear to be valid and well-researched, or is it questionable and unsupported by evidence? Assumptions should be reasonable. Note errors or omissions. Are the ideas and arguments advanced more or less in line with other works you have read on the same topic? The more radically an author departs from the views of others in the same field, the more carefully and critically you should scrutinize his or her ideas. Finally, is the author’s point of view objective and impartial?