Your final project for this course will give you a chance to practice your information literacy skills and create a formal annotated bibliography on a topic of interest, but this annotated bibliography has a twist! You will have to research both sides of an issue and explore sources that disagree.
Choose an important topic related to your professional field of interest. You will need to choose a topic for which there is some debate in your field so that you can explore both sides. For example, if you are studying cybersecurity, you might choose an issue related to people’s freedoms versus security.
Your final project will be completed in four parts as outlined below. See the Course Calendar for due dates for each part.
Course objectives covered in this project include CO 1, CO 2, CO 5, CO 6
Choose an important topic related to your professional field of interest. You will need to choose a topic for which there is some debate in your field so that you can explore both sides. For example, if you are studying cybersecurity, you might choose an issue related to people’s freedoms versus security. How do we balance online security with people’s freedoms and privacy? For this issue, you would locate sources focused on the importance of security and sources focused on the importance of privacy and freedom.
Once you have your topic, you will be creating an annotated bibliography for which you will locate six sources (three on each side of the issue). For each side of the issue, you will include one article from a peer-reviewed journal, one entry from a credible nonacademic source, and one entry from an unreliable or problematic source. For each source, you will need to create an annotation.
The annotated bibliography will also include an introduction that you will write after you have completed your research on both sides of the issue. The final project is broken down into four parts. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates for each part.
Part 1: Topic Selection
For Part 1, choose an issue related to your professional field of interest for which there is some debate. For example, if you are interested in cybersecurity you might explore issues related to balancing individual freedom with group security. For business, you might look at the debate surrounding minimum wage. For science, you might explore issues related to food sustainability. Whatever you choose, you will want to make sure your topic relates to your field of interest and can be argued from at least two different angles.
Submit to your mentor a short (2-4 sentences) description of what you’ve chosen to research. Part 1 will be graded as approved/needs revision.
Part 2: First Three Annotations
For Part 2, use the skills you have gained in locating sources to find two credible sources and one non-credible source on your topic. All three sources should take the same or a similar side on the issue you chose. For example, if you are writing about the balance between individual freedom and online security, your first three sources might all take the side that individual online freedoms should outweigh security needs.
For each source’s annotation, provide an APA reference, a brief summary, and a short evaluation. In your evaluation, be sure to respond to the following questions:
- What makes this source credible or not credible?
- How is this source useful to you for your final project, or how would it harm your credibility if you used it in your project?
Review How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography from the Cornell University Library before you begin.
Part 3: Last Three Annotations
For Part 3, complete another group of annotations, just as you did for Part 2. However, this time all of your sources must take the other side of the issue. For example, if you found sources for Part 2 that took the side that individual online freedoms outweighed security needs, it’s time to take the opposite side and locate sources that argue for security over individual freedom.
Part 4: Complete Annotated Bibliography with Introduction
For Part 4, use the feedback you received from your mentor on the previous parts to make improvements to your annotations and write an introduction. Part 4 of your project should include all six of your annotations as well as an original introduction to your annotated bibliography of approximately 300-500 words. In your introduction, please address the following questions:
- What topic did you select and why? How does this topic relate to your field, and why is it important?
- What was your research process like? Where did you find your sources, and how did you decide on which ones to use for your annotations?
- What was it like researching both sides of the issue? What arguments from each side were persuasive to you? Did you change your mind about anything based on your research?
- What did you learn by including and evaluating non-credible sources? How did these sources differ from the peer-reviewed and other credible sources? Did anything surprise you about them?
- How can this exercise in exploring both sides of an issue help you with your information literacy skills in your academic, professional, and personal life?
The following links provide online writing and research aids to help you with your paper assignments.
- OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University
- Writer’s Handbook, the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
- APA Style Guidelines
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