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Rhetoric and Writing: Annotated Bibliography in-class exercise

Short cuts and research tips for Rhetoric and Writing students

Annotated Bibliography In-class Exercise

Activity 1: What are the parts of an annotated bibliography?

Instructions: Read the example below and then talk with a classmate to answer the discussion questions.

 

Jaynes, J. (1976). The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind.

             Boston:Houghton Mifflin.

 

Written for scholars, Jaynes argues that humans before the second millennium B.C. (2000 BCE through 1001) were schizophrenic and lacked subjective consciousness; people instead had a bicameral, or divided, mind. Bicameral Man operated as an automaton through powerful hallucinations which came from the right hemisphere into the left hemisphere as auditory commands or visions (perceived as “gods”) through the anterior commissure connecting both parts of the brain. Through an analysis of Greek literature, scientific studies, and great leaps of faith in theorizing, Jaynes makes the case that the bicameral mind is responsible for religion, worship of idols, and funerary customs (among other things), and that consciousness only emerged through the development of language and civilization. After reading this, part of me said: this is farfetched!, while another part of me said: hey, who said that? Heavy scientific evidence is lacking. For example, Jaynes believes hypnosis exists and proves the existence of remnants of the Bicameral Mind, while the Amazing Randi, the magician, does not (and science hasn’t conclusively proved it either).  Julian Jaynes (1920-1997) was an American psychologist, educated at Yale University, McGill University and Harvard University.

 

Note: I made this one to use as an example. Check with your professor for assignment details, such as word length, components of the annotation, citation style, number of required citations, and source type requirements. -Mr. Morales/UTEP Librarian

Discussion Questions:

  • What are the main components of an annotated bibliography?
  • What is the usefulness of an annotated bibliography? (Who benefits?)

 

 

Activity 2: Describing the Anatomy of a Annotated Bibliography

Instructions: Compare and contrast the examples below. What would you say are the main components of an annotated bibliography? How are abstracts, book reviews, literature reviews, and annotated bibliographies different?

Activity 3: 

Instructions: Now that you know what the parts of an annotated bibliography are, try your hand at creating an annotated bibliography for the following article. Due to time constraints, limit your product to four sentences maximum, three minimum.

 

Randi, J. (2002). How to Talk to the Dead. Skeptic, 9(3), 9. Retrieved from: http://0-search.ebscohost.com.lib.utep.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=7278730&site=eds-live&scope=site

Alternate Activity

Instructions: Read over the various annotated bibliography (made-up) examples below. Then answer the questions for each one.

Example #1:  

Jaynes, J. (1976). The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Written for scholars, Jaynes argues that humans before the second millennium B.C. (2000 BCE through 1001) were schizophrenic and lacked subjective consciousness; people instead had a bicameral, or divided, mind. Bicameral Man operated as an automaton through powerful hallucinations which came from the right hemisphere into the left hemisphere as auditory commands or visions (perceived as “gods”) through the anterior commissure connecting both parts of the brain. Through an analysis of Greek literature, scientific studies, and great leaps of faith in theorizing, Jaynes makes the case that the bicameral mind is responsible for religion, worship of idols, and funerary customs (among other things), and that consciousness only emerged through the development of language and civilization.

Questions:

1. Are all the annotated bibliography parts accounted for?

2. What would you change (add or subtract) to make this a more effective annotated bibliography?

Example #2:  

The reign of terror: a collection of authentic narratives of the horrors committed by the revolutionary government of France under Marat and Robespierre, written by eye-witnesses of the scenes. Translated from the French. Interspersed with biographical notices of prominent characters, and curious anecdotes illustrative of a period without its parallel in history. (1898). London: Leonard Smithers, 1898. Vol. I & II.

This is essential primary source material for anyone interested in everyday life under the Terror, where patriotism raised to hysteria made mass murderers out of “common” people; the smallest gesture (such as the clothing you wore, the vocabulary you used, etc.) could betray you as an enemy of the people; anyone (e.g, a carpenter neighbor) could bring up suspicions against you and separate you from your liberty (and perhaps even your life). This author disagrees with one of the central arguments made by the editors, that those who lived to tell where saved by Providential intervention. Whether taken literally or as a manner of speaking, it nevertheless casts a veil of bias over those True Believers not saved for posterity, or history (with a capital H), as somehow deserving their fate. This is relevant for anyone who is interested in the secular aspects of the question of “banality of evil” or “why do good people do bad thing?” It also proves that the terror was not just State-sponsored bureaucratic tyranny, but that everyday people participated in extemporaneous judgement and executions (being accused or in the presence of the accused was enough proof of evidence). This source is useful towards adding first-hand accounts to this author's analysis of the French Revolution, lending evidential weight to the secondary and tertiary sources listed in this annotated bibliography.

Questions:

1. Are all the annotated bibliography parts accounted for?

2. What would you change (add or subtract) to make this a more effective annotated bibliography?

Example #3:  

Meryman, R. (1996). Andrew Wyeth: a secret life. United States of America: HarperCollins Pubs.

This book, a biography of American realist painter Andrew Wyeth, presents the subject to a general audience in an accessible way, through insights into various aspects of his life (childhood, artist father, wife, neighbors), and of course the work (although not widely known- perhaps due to art market tastes- Wyeth has made some iconic images, perhaps most famously Christina’s World). This is a useful source. The author is knowledgeable and well-qualified (and therefore a very authoritative source on this subject). The author of this paper chose this as a main reference source to inform my paper on the creation process of this artist's work. This added useful details to my informational paper on why and how artists create works of art.

Questions:

1. Are all the annotated bibliography parts accounted for?

2. What would you change (add or subtract) to make this a more effective annotated bibliography?

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