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Annotated bibliographies on a public policy issue

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Annotated bibliographies on a public policy issue

This semester I am asking you to do a short series of annotated bibliographies on a public policy issue, but I am going to allow you to choose the topic. In my experience students often feel more engaged if they are writing on a topic that they feel passionately about or are interested in.

What is an annotated bibliography? “An annotated bibliography is a citation to a book, article, or document. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.”1 Thus, an annotated bibliography consists of two parts: a citation (in MLA format) that lists the source, and an annotation, which is a written summary of the source.

There are two reasons for asking you to do this assignment:

1) The primary purpose of the project is to help the student gain a greater understanding and awareness of the complexity of a public policy issue. Most people do not understand the complexity of trying to solve large issues in a diverse society. It is hoped that in analyzing the information you find that you will have a greater understanding of this complexity. In my humble opinion, too often today we see people who have a very simple (and often incorrect) understanding of various policy issues. It is my belief that you, as future citizens of this country, need to have a deeper background in analyzing policy issues in order to help find meaningful solutions to those issues.

2) Secondly, the assignment is designed to try to help you develop your research and writing skills. These become increasingly necessary as you reach upper level coursework. In essence, you should approach the topic in a non-judgmental way, carefully analyzing the topic and its complexities. This helps to assist in developing the student’s ability to think critically about an issue, thus developing the skills necessary to analyze future issues and be able to make wise decisions on aspects of public policy that can directly affect the student’s life.

Requirements: You will be required to write four (4) annotations. Each one will relate to the specific topic of public policy that you choose to research. This requires you to find four separate sources (such as a book, journal or an article in a newspaper or a magazine) for the topic you choose, then write an annotation for each specific source. Each annotation will need to be typed and follow the appropriate format as specified below. In summary:

1) You will choose a topic based on a policy issue

2) You will find four (4) sources relating to that topic

3) For each source you find you will write a separate annotation

The format for each of these is as shown on this web page from Cornell University:

 Note that I prefer the MLA guidelines for the page layout and article/book citation. The annotation itself (the above website also provides excellent guidelines for the proper approach for writing an annotation) should have at least 150 words but may extend further, if necessary, to 200 words. You should not need more than 200 words to provide a proper annotation for a source.

Research: Quality research is vital to the ability of a student to gain proper perspective on any issue. Thus the expectation here is that you will need to find appropriate information to use to satisfy the purposes of this assignment. As stated, you need to find four articles/books to read for the annotations. Two of these may come from common sources: newspaper articles, magazines, reference works or Internet websites (such as the Texas Tribune). Two of your sources will need to be of scholarly quality. This is the part of the assignment that requires you to really engage in some actual research. What is a scholarly source? Generally speaking it refers to a peer reviewed journal or book.


***Important: List of topics that you can choose from that I found from “the Texas Tribune”:

Please pick just one topic (I prefer Politics or Environment, but you can pick whichever you like, thank you), and find 4 different sources (two sources must be scholarly) to write 4 separated annotated bibliographies. This class is Texas and Local Government so please write anything that related to Texas.

Two regular sources I can find are The Texas Tribune and Reuters. So, Please find two more scholar sources for the last two annotated bibliographies.


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