When many people think about history and jobs in the field of history, most assume nearly all history majors become teachers. While there is some truth to this, statistics show that actually only about 18% of history majors go into education. The others enter fields such as law, management, public administration, sales, and many other seemingly-unrelated jobs. What is it about a history degree that makes them so versatile? The answer lies not in the content – the names, dates, and events that help us understand where we came from and how we became the nation that we are – but rather in the skills taught to historians – specifically, the ability to conduct research and to critically analyze information presented to them. It is these skills that make a history major able to graduate and step into so many different fields with well-developed reading, analysis, and writing skills that will serve them no matter what their career choice.
With this in mind, your assignment this semester will be to conduct research and construct an annotated bibliography to help refine your research and analytical skills. If you are unfamiliar with what an Annotated Bibliography in fact is, it is a document that provides not only a list of sources on a particular topic but also an analysis of each source and an evaluation of what that source contributes to the specific research. The individual annotations serve in many ways as both an introduction or overview to each source, but also as a roadmap to the reader of why and how each source can be applied to research. The process of creating the annotated bibliography will require interaction with both primary and secondary sources to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both. It will require a critical analysis of scholarly resources to explain and weigh the arguments of each resources and the applicability of each resource to your research. Ultimately, you will gain a thorough understanding of your subject through the reading, analysis, and written annotation of at least 10 sources, both primary and secondary, on your subject.
In order to complete your annotated bibliography, your assignment will be broken down into several steps:
Step 1 – Choose a topic
Write at least one paragraph that enumerates your intended choice, why you chose the person, and what contribution(s) you would like to address with your research.
Step 2 – Turn in an introduction with two annotated sources (one primary and one secondary)
Your introduction should provide the historical context and overview for your subject. It should also explain your choice, the types of sources that will be used for your research questions, and how these choices will help complete your research. Your two sources must include one primary source from the period being researched and one secondary source such as a journal article or historical monograph.
Step 3 – Submit a rough draft of at least half your annotated sources and your conclusion
While it is best to complete your entire Bibliography by this point, you must have at least five sources in your rough draft. As you complete your Annotated Bibliography, you should also summarize your research with a conclusion that synthesizes what you have learned about your topic and what you learned about your research question.
Step 4 – Provide and receive Feedback on your Rough Draft
During this step in the process, you will both give and receive feedback on your rough draft. The instructor will provide feedback as will your classmates in a peer review. You should also proofread your own paper as well to correct basic writing, grammar, and syntax issues throughout.
Step 5 – Revise and complete your Annotated Bibliography
Using the feedback from your classmates and instructor and your own close reading and edits, revise and polish a final draft of your annotated bibliography. You should revisit both your introduction and conclusion to make sure they reflect your finished product and revise them as necessary. All sources should be cited in proper format and your annotations should be grammatically and stylistically correct. For more information on Annotated Bibliography check on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annotated_bibliography