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Prof. Somma - English 101 - Summer 2018: Your Assignment

Your Assignment

You will develop a question that interests you. You will uncover credible and relevant sources for your question and learn to cite them.  And you will learn to summarize, respond to and synthesize the sources into your own 3-5 page argument essay.  The final project for the first sequence takes the form of a Research Discussion in front of the class.

Step 1:  The Research Proposal

Step 2: The Simple Annotated Bibliography with cover letter

Step 3: Research Essay

Step 4: The Discussion

Information on what a simple Annotated Bibliography is and how to construct one can be found under the Annotated Bibliography tab.

Reputable places to start your research can be found under the Finding Articles, Books and Media and Online Sources tabs. Use the guidelines under Evaluate Sources and Real News vs Fake News if you are not sure a source is trustworthy.

Complete information on MLA 8 format can be found under the Citing and Plagiarism tab.

To get help with your research project from a librarian either in person, by phone, email, text, or chat. Look under the Get Help tab to see how to contact the librarian who is familiar with your assignment and to find out library hours.

Complete information on your assignment and due dates are in BlackBoard. If you can't find the answer there, ask Professor Somma.

Influential Sources for Your Research Proposal

1.) Pick a topic and propose a thesis to create your research question. Ask yourself:

  • What are your assumptions about this topic?
  • What do you wish to discover?
  • Why is this topic important enough to study?

2.) Locate an introductory, influential source. Some ways to locate influential sources include:  

  • A reputable encyclopedia.
  • For a topic that has some controversy or currency, try a library database for Controversial Issues.
  • Searching within a major newspaper, magazine, or journal such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, NPR News, The Washington Post, Time, The Los Angeles Times, WIRED or Education Week.
  • Find a relevant TED talk.


  • If you get stuck, you can also ask your teacher or a librarian, who might know of recent research, controversies, or the name of an expert/ organization studying this issue.
  • Note that experts may be authors OR they may be people referenced or interviewed in articles you find.
  • Learn to look for clues and breadcrumbs to further, more in-depth research!

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