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Library Learning Information Center

English 112 (College Composition II)

Margot Haynes

Margot Haynes Adapted from Clark, Irene Lurkis.


Taking a Stand: A Guide to the Researched Paper with Readings.
Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc. 1996.
Each search journal = 5 pts.

When studying a controversial issue, it is helpful to use writing to explore your topic actively even when you are not in the class or working on a particular class assignment. This helps you narrow your topic and develop the habit of speculation, thinking seriously about what you read. Having this journal assignment should help you develop you ideas so that you will have a solid foundation for your major researched opinion paper. In all you should hand in 6 journal entries.

I.  Your first search journal should describe your reading in the relevant section of American Mosaic.

Which section did you choose for background reading? What other readings in that section might you select for background for your research? Why? What is the question which your paper will try to answer? This journal must conclude with this thesis question and a list of KEY WORDS you might use to help you in your library search.(due Feb. 17)

II.  Your 2nd and 3rd search journal entries are due Feb. 20 at the beginning of class.

Choose two readings from the section of American Mosaic which you have chosen as your focus. Read each of these readings and write a brief (3-5 sentence) summary of each of them. Then, make a personal comment on a 3x5 note card for each of them discussing how you think each reading might connect to your topic (use brackets, since this is your own opinion). Label the top of your note card with a complete citation of the source, and you can use this as a bibliography card!

III. Search Journal 4

In 1-2 pages, describe your background reading about your topic, based on reference books and periodical search which you carried out during class on Feb. 20. Your write-up should begin to make a more precise definition of your topic question and some of the main issues which you think your paper will cover. Include a bibliography card for any material which you have xeroxed for your own later use (stapled to the top of your search journal when you hand it in).

IV. Search Journals 5 & 6: Leave in my mailbox is S-6 (basement of Fine Arts building) by Friday March 14.

These journals should report on at least nine hours you spent in the library. #5 - This search journal will be complete when you have attended class on Monday, March 10 in the library and done the worksheet exercise on choosing and evaluating book sources through VALCAT. #6 - This search journal should discuss your findings in general: What sources did you find? How did you skim sources to decide whether they were useful? How did your preliminary reading help you to narrow your topic? It must mention the reference books you used to get a broad vies of the topic area. You may start with this opening: "In all, I spent_____________ hours in the library. First, I looked up .... Then, I tried the following topics in VALCAT and found .... Next, ....." Include both book searches and periodical searches. At the end of your search, you should be able to make 6 bibliography cards with personal evaluation on them. Staple the bib cards to the top of your search journal.  

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