Like most assignments, this one is not rocket science.
First, you need to select a topic that you want to do some reading on this semester. It should be something that lies in your area of interest, and ideally one that you know has a literature. How specific should it be? Not a general area of research interest: rhetoric, argumentation, persuasion, or public relations. Perhaps it will be a specific theory -- social exchange theory -- or perhaps a particular phenomena -- candidate political debates. It might even be a specific research question: How can firms such as BP best handle disasters such as the gulf oil spill? Just make certain it has legs for you to pursue it all semester. Consult with me on a topic, and don't be afraid to adjust through this assignment and the next.
Second, start your work by collecting just ten sources on the topic of interest. These should be substantive scholarly sources. No wikipeadia. Doesn't mean you cannot consult Wikipeadia, but it is a gateway, not a source.
Third, prepare an annotated bibliography. Annotated bibliographies are a research tool for you. They help you to keep track of sources that you have already consulted and help you to return to sources you thought were not helpful at the time but occur to you later as important. The bibliography should cite, in proper Chicago or APA format. To each citation you will add an annotation. An annotation is two or three sentences that (1) describe what is contained in the source, (2) explain what you learned from the source that you find important to your topic, and (3) the reason for your judgment on the importance of the source.
There is but one variation from the Chicago or APA format: I want you to number the items and place them in the order of their importance to your topic.
A good researcher always knows where he or she is going in the path through their topic. Bibliographies are built from notes in sources and from using key words in data bases. As they are built, they are prioritized. The Klumpp-ten-card-method tracks the next ten items you wish to examine. As you come across a new source that looks good, you make a choice of whether it fits into your next ten, and where. Then you add it in the appropriate place in the bibliography, writing an accompanying annotation on what your source indicates you can find there and why it is important. After you examine the source you revise the annotation for what is actually in the item, and reorder alphabetically into your "examined" pile.
For this assignment, I want you to keep your ten card order, but look at the source long enough to provide the annotation above. That should mean reading introductions and conclusions of the items and skimming the main features.
Remember, if you do not follow proper form on your citations (APA or Chicago), you will redo.
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