English 90–Machine Dreams–Final Assignment: Researched Web Project

Due Thursday, December 9, 2004

Construct a comprehensive analysis and argument about society and technology based on selected readings for this course in order to attempt to articulate your own position on society and technology. Do you discern any "camps" or definite and opposed positions in terms of technology in the readings for the course? What positions are represented in these readings, and how do they differ? Where do you fit into these positions? Pick at least three or four of the readings and/or films we have worked with and support your argument about the ways in which they envision the relationship between society and technology by referring to outside critical sources on these readings and/or films. Bring in your own thoughts in order to construct a sort of final journal entry in which you digest some of the issues and positions we have encountered in our class and in the Society and Technology Residential College

The content of your webpage should mainly consist of an interpretive argument about the text(s) you have chosen to examine; it is not a review or summary of criticism on a work. Use material from any secondary resources you select to support your interpretation or to raise additional critical issues. I urge you to write a rough draft or outline of your argument before you begin to read any criticism.

Prewriting: Before you write a first draft, you should reread the primary work(s) carefully, with an eye towards investigating, supporting, and thinking through your topic. You may well find points that relate to your topic that you haven't discovered before. Take notes as you reread, carefully noting page numbers for references you wish to come back to. If you extract a quotation to use in your essay, write it down carefully, word-for-word and punctuation mark-by-punctuation mark. If you find you are collecting too many examples as support for your thesis, select the strongest examples only for use in your essay.

Evaluation: I will judge your performance by how well you do what your thesis states as a goal for your essay/presentation. Writing style and organization count as well as content, so be sure to begin with a thorough outline and to leave yourself time to revise your draft(s) and to proofread your final draft carefully. I have found that many students have trouble incorporating source material into their own writing and that this often results in the confusion of the student's own good ideas in a jumble of unattributed, unexplained quotations. PLEASE come and check with me if you are unsure of how to handle your reference sources as you work them into your paper.

You should follow your direct quotations with the appropriate page number from the text in parentheses. The final section of your paper should be a "Works Cited" page in proper MLA format. Remember, quotations longer than four lines should be presented in single-spaced blocks indented in the text.

Research Sources: RESEARCH SHOULD NOT BE THE PRIMARY FOCUS OF THIS PAPER! Bertrand Library has a strong collection of books and periodicals that deal with literature. You may also wish to make use of "Article Finder" and other useful electronic databases available from the ISR homepage (http://www.isr.bucknell.edu). Remember, you do not need to do extensive research for this essay; even one or two supplementary sources will be sufficient as a minimum. You should not conduct all of your research for this paper only on the internet; in fact, no more than half of your quoted research sources can be electronic sources. When you use the internet for research, you should be especially careful about the credibility and integrity of your sources. Attributing sources by name is always important.

This assignment should help you learn about research techniques that will be useful to you throughout your college years. It's important that you learn how to use sources correctly and responsibly. I want to work closely with you to be sure that you feel comfortable with these ideas and procedures, so please come talk with me if you have questions about the proper way(s) to perform and handle research.