English 90–Machine Dreams–Final Assignment: Researched Analysis Web Presentation

Due Monday, December 10, 2001

You may choose to do this paper on any works of your choosing, so long as they are on our syllabus. This project should present your own in-depth interpretation of a particular thematic or technical aspect of the work(s) you choose. You may focus on one particular feature of one work or you may present your own indepth study of a theme or technique as it is used in two or more of the works we've read. For example, you might analyze the role a particular image or symbol plays in the work(s) you've picked.

You must present this final analysis as a web-based presentation. It can be a simple webpage or series of webpages, but I would like it to be clearly and attractively presented, with some images and/or artwork woven into the presentation. The webpage should have some sort of background color or background image, a clear title, and should enhance the presentation of your ideas as you analyze the work(s) under discussion.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that this essay -- like the others we are writing -- is argumentative. That is to say, you'll need to convince the reader that the topic you're presenting is significant and that it works the way you say it does. How convincing you are depends on how well you use the material at your disposal. That material should be drawn primarily from the work you've chosen, but you must also consult at least two or three secondary research sources. You must be careful, however, to use your research to support your own point; avoid simply reporting what other researchers have said. No more than half of the support for your web-essay can come from the internet; the rest should come from books and journals in the Bertrand Library collection.

This paper should be mainly an interpretive paper; 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 work 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 paper and also by how well your essay is presented. 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 page of your paper should be a "Works Cited" page in proper MLA format. We will discuss these procedures in detail in class. 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; two or three supplementary sources will be sufficient as a minimum. You should not conduct all of your research for this paper only on the internet; 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.