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Assessment 1: Annotated Bibliography Entry (10%)

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Anne Jamison

on 30 August 2015

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Transcript of Assessment 1: Annotated Bibliography Entry (10%)

Assessment 1: Annotated Bibliography Entry (10%)
A Step-by-Step Guide

1. What do I do with the question?
2. How do I find a relevant secondary resource?
3. How do I put together my annotated bibliography?
For the purposes of this guide, we are going to use a sample question, which is similar in style to, but not exactly the same as, the question you will be given for assessments 1 and 2. You will then be able to easily apply the following steps to the question you have been given.
Create an annotated bibliography entry for an essay answering the following question:

How does
Wuthering Heights
examine issues of gender in nineteenth-century Britain?
Now that you know your question, you need to decide what to do with it.
Read and analyse your question.
Highlight any key words in the question.
Try to put the question in your own words, so that you understand what the question is asking you to do.

When we analyse a question, we are trying to figure out what the question is asking us to do. In trying to figure this out, it is useful to highlight the key words in the question. This gives us clues to the main topics, texts, and themes that the question wants us to address.
Now let's apply these steps to our sample question and see if we can analyse it.
What are some of our key words?

annotated bibliography
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights
nineteenth-century Britain
How can I use this analysis and these key terms to reformulate the question in my own words to help me understand what the question is about?
Key words

annotated bibliography
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights
nineteenth-century Britain
The following is an example of how we might rewrite the question to help better understand it in our own words, as well as 'unpack' the original question a bit. It's often helpful to try and include the original key words from the question in your own rewriting:

The question is based on Emily Bronte's
Wuthering Heights
and it is asking me to create an annotated bibliography entry in response to issues of gender in Bronte's novel.

The question is pushing me to think about how the novel represents and deals with gender in relation to the nineteenth-century British society in which the book was written and set.

Gender relates to a person's self-identity in terms of masculinity and femininity and the socially and culturally constructed differences between men and women. The question is, therefore, perhaps asking me to think about the gendered behaviour of the characters in the novel, as well as how society might treat them differently as men and women.

I do not need to write an essay in response to the question, but I have to source a relevant secondary piece of literature in order to create an annotated bibliography entry.

jot down some thoughts on the question. From your own reading of Bronte's novel, and your work in lectures and tutorials, are there some things that you can already say in response to the question? In the case of our sample question, for example, do you already have some thoughts on how Bronte's novel is engaging with and exploring issues of gender?

It is useful to make these notes now as you read and analyse the question. They will help you later on in this assessment task when you come to evaluate your chosen secondary literature.

Before moving on to step 2, check that you have done the following:

Have I read and analysed the question?
Have I made a list of relevant key words from the question?
Have I tried to rewrite the question in my own words?
Have I noted down some initial thoughts in response to the question?
The next stage in the process is to find a relevant secondary resource which you can use as the basis of your annotated bibliography.

It is useful at this stage to ask yourself the following question:

"IF I were to write an essay response to the question, what useful secondary literature could I find that would help me to do that?"
: for an annotated bibliography,
you are not being asked to write an essay in response to the question
, you are being asked to think about a possible response, and then source a secondary piece of literature which would be relevant to making that response.
Where can I find relevant secondary resources?

Through a search on the library's online catalogue. Your key words and other similar words might prove useful search terms, e.g. 'gender' and 'Wuthering Heights'; or, 'Catherine Earnshaw' and 'patriarchy'. Try different combinations of your key words and other words which are similar to them.

Through the Readings Direct list on vUWS. Again, your key words might help you to identify which items on the list will be relevant to you. Do the titles of any of the items on the list contain your keywords? If not, do they contain similar words?
Once you have identified several relevant secondary resources, you need to choose one which you think would be most relevant to helping you answer the given question, as well as one which you feel confident you have understood and can explain to others.

Before moving on to step 3, check that you have done the following:

Have I checked the vUWS site for relevant secondary material?
Have I conducted my own independent library search using my keywords to look for relevant secondary resources?
Have I narrowed down my search and chosen one piece of secondary literature which is both relevant to the question, and one which I understand and feel confident I can explain to others?
Now that you have sourced a relevant piece of secondary literature, you can begin compiling your annotated bibliography.

Ensure you
read carefully
through your chosen piece of secondary literature.
You will need to read it more than once

It will help if you highlight sections as you read which you think are key to the main argument. You might also want to highlight anything that you think will make a useful quotation for your annotated bibliography.
Your annotated bibliography should contain the following sections and you should bear this in mind as you read and take notes on your chosen piece of secondary literature:

bibliographic listing
of your chosen secondary material
of your chosen secondary material
of your chosen secondary material
of your chosen secondary material
At this point, it might be good to take a look at the example annotated bibliography entries on vUWS. The example for Bronte has been written in response to the sample question in this guide. The purpose of these examples is to show you what an annotated bibliography entry looks like, and what you need to include in each of your sections:
bibliographical listing, description, summary, and evaluation

Make sure that you structure your bibliography in the same way that the examples are structured and use the correct headings for each section of your bibliography.
I've looked at the examples on vUWS, but I'm still not certain what each section of the annotated bibliography needs to do and what I should be including...
Let's think again about those sections and think about the sorts of questions we need to ask ourselves in order to complete them:

Bibliographical Listing
: bibliographical information that you would usually include in a bibliography and which gives the full referencing information for your chosen secondary material, e.g.,

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. “Looking Oppositely: Emily Brontë’s Bible of Hell.” Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar,
The Madwoman in the Attic. The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination
. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. 248-310. Print.


you should be using Chicago referencing for this assessment. The Chicago style sheet is available on vUWS;

because you have listed at the start of your annotated bibliography the full reference to the secondary material that you are using, you do not need to provide full footnotes throughout your annotated bibliography. As in the samples on vUWS, you can simply provide page numbers in brackets at the end of your quotations or paraphrased sections.

be careful with your referencing throughout your work. Just like an essay, it is not acceptable to take quotations from your secondary material without a page number reference. You should also clearly indicate using page number references where you have paraphrased from your chosen secondary material.

: in this section you need to give a basic description of your chosen secondary material.

Who are the authors?
When was it published?
What type of secondary material is it (book, journal article, edited essay)?
Is there anything that indicates how significant your chosen secondary material is? In the sample entry on Conrad on vUWS, for example, the chosen essay's inclusion in the Norton edition of Conrad's novel was highlighted as demonstrating that essay's significance and importance. The sample entry on Bronte was seen to be significant because the book in which the chapter had been included had been reprinted and enhanced in a second edition, demonstrating its ongoing relevance and importance to studies of Victorian women's literature.

What other indicators are there that might help you write about the significance of your chosen secondary material?

Is the author an established authority in their research field?
You will be able to get some sense of this by looking up your author online and looking at their academic profile, including their other publications. Have they published widely in the field relevant to the secondary material you are looking at? Have they written and published a book in this research field? Are they listed as editors of significant journals relevant to your chosen secondary material? This type of information will give you clues to how well established your author is and how much of an authority they are on the subject on which they are writing.
Try to not simply list who your author is, or their academic title, or what university they work at. This type of information is not necessarily an indicator of the significance of what you are reading.

If you are looking at a journal article, what journal is it published in?
The journal in which an article is published can often tell you something about how significant your article is. Try looking up your journal online to see if you can find any information about it. Is it a well-established journal? Has it been in print for many years? Is it peer-reviewed? Does it list a detailed editorial board or advisory committee? If the answer is 'yes' to these questions, then it is an indicator of the journal's high academic quality. Is it targeted at early career researchers and postgraduates? If it is, then this will tell you something about the type of authors included, which you can relate to the points made above about the 'authority' of your author. Is the journal freely available online? Most high-quality academic journals are subscription-only and are not available for free online, which means you can only access them through a subscribing university or public library. UWS subscribes to hundreds of academic journals which are then made available to you through either the physical library, or through the library's online databases.

Is your chosen secondary material something that can be found elsewhere?
If you are looking at a journal article, or a chapter in a book, it's worth looking up the author and title online. You may find that your secondary material is available not just in the book or journal that you are looking at, but also in, for example, a collected edition of critical essays, or perhaps in a critical edition of a text, like the Norton edition for Conrad. If your secondary material has been reprinted elsewhere, or included in a critical edition, ten this often signifies its importance. Like the example on Bronte, your chosen secondary material may also be something that has been reprinted in a second, or even third, edition and this, again, tells you something about how important and relevant the work is considered to be by academic publishers.

: in this section, you need to summarise the key points of argument of your chosen secondary material.

What is the purpose of the material?
What point is it trying to make about the text you are studying?
What does it seem most concerned with?
What themes or topics does it explore?
Does it employ any theoretical approaches?
Does it make use of historical or archival material to make its argument?

Broadly speaking, what you are doing in this section is summarising the key points of the argument, but also explaining how your chosen material makes those points and that argument

try to include lots of detail in your summaries by quoting directly from your chosen secondary material and make sure that you cover the full argument. You need to be succinct because you are limited by a fairly short word count, but don't just summarise the first half of your secondary material. Read the material through from beginning to end and decide what the key points are for the beginning, middle, and end, of your secondary material, and build your summary around those key points.
: in this section, you need to think about how
your chosen secondary material is in terms of its argument and the key points it is trying to make, as well as how relevant it is to your given question.

Are you persuaded by the argument? Why/why not?
What do you think are the strongest and weakest points of the argument?
Do you think that there are key things that the argument does not consider or leaves out?
Do you find some parts of the argument convincing, but feel the author should have expanded on key areas which were only flagged quite generally?
How relevant is your chosen material to the essay question you have been given?

You may find at this stage that your initial notes on the question come in handy here
. What did you initially think about the themes and topics that the question was asking you to explore in Bronte's novel? Does your chosen secondary material persuade you to think differently, or were your thoughts quite similar to the thoughts of the critic you are reading? In this section of the annotated bibliography, you should be demonstrating your own detailed knowledge of the primary text on which your question is based.

You may also find that other secondary material you have read which focuses on the same theme/text will help you to think about how persuasive (or not) your chosen secondary material is
. How does it compare with other similar essays/arguments? Does it adopt the same approach or focus on the same characters? If not, why not? And why do you find your chosen secondary material more convincing in comparison?


you think your chosen secondary material is persuasive or not, and avoid simply stating this;

do not base your annotated bibliography on a primary text that you haven't read, this will be very obvious to your markers in this section of the annotated bibliography. It is very difficult to evaluate someone's argument on a text which you haven't read. You need to know your primary text in detail and have formed some opinion on it in order to write a convincing evaluation.

In order to complete your annotated bibliography entry, ask yourself the following:

Have I looked at the examples on vUWS?
Have I included all of the sections I need to include in my entry?
Do I understand what needs to go into each of these sections?
Now try to apply each of these steps to the question that you have been given for assessment 1.

If you have any further questions, or need more clarification, please ask your tutor in class.
Create an annotated bibliography entry for an essay answering the following question:

How does Emily Bronte's
Wuthering Heights
examine issues of gender in nineteenth-century Britain?
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