Due Date: Monday 1-27/ Tuesday 1-28

Preliminary Reading:

  • Craft of Research p. 213-214 & chapter 5
  • MLA Handbook sections 4.1-4.9

The Format & Grading Criteria:

For this assignment, you will revise your proposal into a more formal paragraph-length abstract, one that includes a photo to support your argument. Beneath that abstract, you will attach a preliminary bibliography for your project that will list at least 8 sources in MLA format. Your abstract should be 1 and 1/2 or double spaced; your bibliography may be single-spaced, with double spaces between entries, but should follow other spacing and format rules as specified by the MLA. Please note that Socrates and most other on-line catalogues do not list their sources in MLA format, so you cut and paste entries off the computer, you may need to adjust their format accordingly to be MLA compliant.

Post your abstract & bibliography on Panfora under PERSONAL WORK. This installment in the Research Project will be graded s/nc.

The Assignment:

During the second week of classes, you posted a research proposal on Panfora in which you suggested a research topic, possible sources, and anticipated research problems. For this next assignment, you will formalize your topic, writing a polished Abstract – that is a summary of your paper topic and central points – and a preliminary bibliography.

THE ABSTRACT. You may have come across several abstracts already in your preliminary research: many databases and journals offer a single-paragraph summary of texts that provide readers with an overview of the material in question. If you are pursuing a major in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, or business, you undoubtedly will be called on to write an abstract at some point during your college experience. The goal now is to give you a first taste of working with abstract form, while simultaneously encouraging you to further solidify your research topic.

As defined on p. 712 of the Bedford Handbook, an abstract is

a 75-to-100-word paragraph that provides readers with a quick overview of your essay. It should express your thesis (or central idea) and your key points; it might also briefly suggest any implications or applications of the research you discuss in the paper.[3]

Wayne Booth offers a more detailed description of the abstract on pages 213-214 in The Craft of Research. For this assignment, your abstract probably should most closely fit Booth’s “Context + Problem + Launching Point” model, since you are at too early a point in your research to have reached any definitive conclusions. Also, you should use metadiscourse in your abstract (i.e., “In this paper, I will examine …); this is the place for metadiscourse – self-conscious writing about your writing – if there ever was one. It is understood that, although you will write about your project in the present tense – that is, about what it does or investigates – you are still in the preliminary stages and that you might end up revising your focus, thesis, etc. Remember: you need to include a photo with your abstract. This may be the same one that you included with your proposal, or it may be a different one. As with the proposal, consider doing a Google Image Search if you're having trouble finding an image appropriate to your topic. Don't forget to note the source from which you borrowed your image!

PRELIMINARY BIBLIOGRAPHY. Beneath your Abstract, you should attach a preliminary bibliography of 8 sources (sources for your research project, not necessarily for your abstract itself). I am not assuming that you’ve read these sources at this point; the bibliography simply reflects the fact that you’ve initiated the research process.

To prepare for composing your preliminary bibliography, read sections 4.1 through 4.5 in the MLA Handbook on documenting sources and review sections 4.6 to 4.9 as needed to familiarize yourself with correct bibliographic style. You may want to also visit http://www-sul.stanford.edu/guides/beglib.html and review the information you received at the library workshop.

Having done so, use library resources and databases to generate a bibliography. It would be advisable to include articles as well as books in your bibliography; in addition, you may use on-line sources, but not exclusively. In general, the bibliography should contain secondary as well as primary sources; for example, a preliminary bibliography should not just be a list of television shows (although one or two shows may appear there). A bibliography may contain more than – but not fewer than – eight sources.

To turn this assignment in, post it as a Microsoft word attachment on Panfora under your PERSONAL WORK heading.