Week 3

Researching Toward a Thesis

About this week

This third week of the course focuses on finding and annotating sources as well as using the research process to develop a thesis statement. As such, you will engage in the research plan you developed last week (in Week 2), and you will find 3-5 academic, peer-reviewed sources about your chosen topic. You will then use those sources to develop a preliminary thesis and to create a Reflective Annotated Bibliography, an assignment that helps you understand the way sources can be used to support a thesis statement.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand the criteria needed for an arguable thesis
  • Learn to use researched sources to develop a thesis statement
  • Understand how to evaluate and annotate sources
  • Review and practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and citing sources
Task List:
  1. Consume this week’s required readings and media
  2. Participate in Discussion #3: Finding Sources and Developing a Preliminary Thesis
  3. Submit Low-Stakes Assignment #3: Reflective Annotated Bibliography

Required Readings

Required Media

Diving Deeper

“Guidelines for Writing a Summary” from Queens College Review these guidelines if you have questions about creating the summary portion of the Reflective Annotated Bibliography. 

“Using Quotes and Paraphrases” Video
Watch this video to learn more about the difference between using quotes and using paraphrases from your sources.

Queens College Library Tutorial
Want to learn more about doing library research? This page from Queens College Libraries offers a number of tutorials that can be used to expand and deepen your research knowledge.

Preparation for This Week’s Discussion

Following the research plan you developed in Week 2, find five academic, peer-reviewed sources that relate directly to your chosen research topic and construct a preliminary thesis based on those sources.

  • To do this, you first need to review this week’s resources above about how to find peer-reviewed, academic articles and how to use the library’s databases. Remember to use the key terms you chose last week, but feel free to add more as you see fit; see what works—research is trial and error! And please, resist the urge to give up quickly. If one database is not giving you the results you need, try another database and try new search terms or different combinations of terms.
  • Once you have found five articles that are closely related to your specific topic, read through them to see what ideas, themes, and perspectives link them. As you are reading, take notes and jot down the page numbers of particularly interesting quotes (you will need these page numbers for this week’s Low-Stakes Assignment). See what ideas develop as you read and compare your articles and start to construct possible thesis statements/claims you might make about your topic based on this evidence.
  • Review the week’s discussion assignment directions to prepare your assignment. 

Week 3 Discussion

After you’ve reviewed the above materials, head to this week’s discussion. Respond to the prompt by Thursday at 11:59pm. Then read the comments posted by your classmates and respond to at least two of them by Sunday at 11:59pm. Do your best to fully engage with their posts by responding to a specific point they made. For more information, see the discussion rubric on the Rubrics page.

LSA 3: Reflective Annotated Bibliography

A reflective annotated bibliography is an expanded version of a traditional annotated bibliography, which only asks you to summarize/annotate and cite your sources. The reflective annotated bibliography goes beyond this and works as a research device. It asks you to:

  • create a list of terminology/keywords for each source
  • reflect on the usefulness of each source
  • create a list of quotations from each source that you might use in a draft of a research paper.

These additional sections help you differentiate between summary (where you offer an “objective” review of the source’s main points) and analysis (where you offer your “subjective” idea about the source). It also acts as a mnemonic device to help you retain terminologies, key terms and phrases, and useful quotes. 

See the assignment sheet, LSA-3, above for the full assignment instructions. Due by Sunday, 11:59pm.