All students at Union County College are expected to become "information literate" before they graduate and all college-credit courses are expected to have an information literacy component.
"Information literacy" requires that you can do research on any topic assigned using the library and the internet. It requires that you can distinguish facts from opinions, reputable sources from propaganda, primary sources from secondary sources, and much more. It also requires that you can do a bibliography. The end product of research is usually a term paper or article or book. My sophomore level classes require such a term paper. My freshmen level classes, that is the Western Civilization courses, require an annotated bibliography. Both processes, doing the research for an annotated bibliography or going on to write a term paper, will help you to become information literate.
Picking a Topic
You are required to do a bibliography or research paper. If you have no idea what you want to do, well, what interests you? If nothing is of particular interest, pick a topic either from the assigned list of topics provided by your instructor (if one was provided) or look at the index at the end of your main textbook. Do a bit of preliminary research to find out: a) is there enough material readily available to do the bibliography or research paper and b) does the topic you picked seem even remotely interesting to you? If the answer to either question is "no," then go on to another topic and repeat the process.
Throughout the process of doing research, you should be very careful to note down where the information came from. When you quote or paraphrase someone else's information, you must footnote the material in the text of your paper and then provide a bibliography of sources cited and researched at the end of the paper.
Doing a Term Paper in my American Government, International Politics, and World Geography Courses
Those of you in my sophomore-level courses are required to do a term paper. Instructions, term paper topics, and deadlines are listed in your regular syllabus or are discussed in class. Please note that you must use the Turabian format. You are required to have footnotes and a bibliography. Footnotes should be on the bottom of each page. With word processing programs like WORD, this is very easy to do. Your bibliography at the end of your paper does not require annotation, nor should it be grouped into categories. These requirements apply only to my Western Civilization courses. Simply alphabetize your bibliography. (It is still useful to know the different kinds of research materials available. It is useful to know the difference between an article in an encyclopedia, articles in scholarly journals, articles in popular magazines, articles in newspapers, books, and government documents. Each is cited differently.)
I have, however, required, my sophomore-level students to submit an outline of your term paper and a brief, at least five item, bibliography. The outline can be very general but it should indicate a thesis statement and the general content of your term paper.
Outlines usually follow a format using Roman Numerals, Capital Letters, Arabic Numerals, and Small letters for their subdivisions.
The bibliography should be alphabetized and include two books and three scholarly articles.
Doing an Annotated Bibliography for Western Civilization
To do your annotated bibliography, use the format shown on the Annotated
My students in the Western Civilization courses are required to do an annotated bibliography. The specific deadlines for this annotated bibliography are found in the syllabus for each course. The material on this page supplements the syllabus.
I have broken the process of doing the annotated bibliography into three steps.
Step One: Select a topic for your bibliography. Pick any person, event, or idea listed in the index of your textbook. Clear the topic with me and start doing the annotated bibliography. No two students will be allowed to select the same topic. Whoever chooses first, gets the topic.
Step Two: Do a five entry annotated
bibliography. These five entries must be grouped into three categories:
I do not want you to use WEB sources for this part of the assignment. Do not use an internet encyclopedia. I want to you go to a real library and look at real books. If you can not find any articles because the library has too limited a selection of magazines and journals in print form, then you may use a data base. The article must still be cited as if you had seen it in print form.
Step Three. Do a ten entry annotated
bibliography. Use the five entries from Step Two and add five more.
These ten entries must be grouped into
To annotate a bibliographic entry means to write a brief paragraph explaining the book or article. Briefly describe the content of the book or article. Who wrote the article? What are his or her credentials? Include the library where you did the research and the library call numbers of the resource in your annotation. (Do not place this information in the bibliographic entry). Evaluate the magazine where the article appeared. Is it well known, specialized, scholarly? What?
If you used the internet, then state whose WEB site you are using. Evaluate the usefulness, to you, of the article or book.
Doing Bibliographies: Turabian, University of Chicago Manual of Style, Modern Language Association (MLA), and American Psychological Association (APA) Formats
There are different formats for doing bibliographies. Different academic disciplines use different methods of citations. In my courses, students are expected to use the Turabian Style.
Your annotated bibliography must use the Turabian format as adapted by me.
Do NOT use MLA, APA, or any other format.
Check out my WEB pages nested below, especially my WEB page entitled Turabian Citation Style.
Psychology and Sociology use the American Psychological Associations format for doing research.
English Professors use the Modern Languages Association style book.
Political scientists and historians use the University of Chicago Style Manual.
The University of Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition is a thousand page book geared primarily to professional writers. Turabian's Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations,7th Edition (2007) focuses on providing guidelines for student papers.
Union County College Library Resources
When doing research, the best place to begin is to go to the Library. I would highly recommend that you visit the Kenneth C. MacKay Library on our Cranford Campus. All our librarians are friendly. You can find their names and pictures on the Library's Home Page.
Here is the link to the list of Library Faculty and Staff.
Another useful set of links from the Library's Home Page is labeled "Writing A Paper." Under "Citation Guides" you will find a pamphlet on Using Turabian. This Guide is very useful except that when citing scholarly journals, I do want you to indicate both the Volume and the Issue Number of the journal where the article appeared. When the journal came from a data base, then I want you to provide more information that shown in the Guide. Where there is a discrepancy between the Library's Guide and my own Guidelines, please follow my instructions.
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern
Studies Vol.27 No.1 (1997}
Much research these days is done through Data Bases. Many Data Bases are electronic libraries. They contain the articles printed in thousands of journals and magazines. Many libraries cannot afford to buy the actual scholarly journals. They subscribe to a set of data bases which students can access on campus or, sometimes, from home.
Our library has an extensive list of Data Bases. You may wish to talk to a professional librarian on how to use these data bases. I recommend that you use JSTOR.
This page was visited times so far.
Updated December 28, 2011