Proposal, Annotated Bibliography and Final Essay

English 338 – Summer 2005                                                                                                            Kate Scheel


There are 4 parts to this assignment:

1. Topic

Identify a question or area of interest for your essay.


2. Research and Annotated Bibliography

Research existing knowledge on this topic by reviewing 5 critical articles or books, at least 3 of which must be journal articles. Write an annotated bibliography of the 5 critical sources. See handout for details on how to format the bibliography. Each annotation should be a brief (an approximately 150 word description) of the source and an evaluation of its use for your topic. A sample annotated bibliography follows.


3. Proposal

Write a 1-2 page proposal of the question that your essay will explore. (See directions and marking scheme below). The proposal should describe the existing knowledge you investigated in your bibliography, the knowledge deficit (what your essay will contribute), the text that you will use, and the method. The proposal and bibliography are due on July 14 in class although you are welcome to turn your proposal and bibliography in earlier. The proposal and bibliography count for 5% of your final grade. Directions for completing the proposal follow.


4. Essay

Upon approval of the proposal by the instructor, write the essay using MLA guidelines or the English Department Style Guide. You are not required to include the secondary sources you have researched in your essay. The essay should be approximately 2500 words or 10 – 12 pages long.


The essay is due July 28, 2005 and counts for 35% of your grade. Grades for late essays will be deducted 5% per day unless there are valid mitigating circumstances. 




Annotated Bibliography

Sample Annotated Bibliography

Marlene Sawatsky


Gamlin, Gordon. “Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion and the Oral Narrative.” Canadian Literature 135 (Winter 1992): 68-77.


Gamlin discusses parallels between Ondaatje’s narrative strategies and characteristics of oral narrative strategies. Primarily, Gamlin identifies the tale-telling nature of the novel and the narrative’s inclusion of multiple experiences. Connections are also drawn between the oral source text of The Epic of Gilgamesh and Ondaatje’s story. He examines how these elements of the novel present (like oral history) a challenge to traditional concepts of valid sources of history.



Giltrow, Janet. Academic Writing: Reading and Writing Across the Disciplines. Peterborough: Broadview P: 1995, 9-14.


While the body of this text focuses on scholarly reading and writing, the preface (9-14) contains a broadly relevant discussion of “the meaningfulness of style.” Giltrow emphasizes the relationship between a text’s style and the “reader’s construction of meaning.” She points to the important role that the stylistic conventions of academic disciplines play in conveying knowledge. This discussion provides useful concepts for understanding the significance of style for the reader.



Hutcheon, Linda. Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 1978, 17-35.


The page numbers indicated here refer to the first chapter of this book entitled “modes and Forms of Narcissistic Narrative.” In this chapter, Hutcheon clarifies the meaning of the terms that characterize metafiction, such as self-reflective and self-conscious. Hutcheon distinguishes between the two terms and discusses modes of writing that display them. Hutcheon also includes discussion of the implications of these stylistic techniques for the role of the reader.


Features of Annotated Bibliography:

Documentation format for source (alphabetical order): writer’s surname, first name, title of article, title of journal (italics or underlined for book and journal titles, quotation marks for article and poem titles), volume, year, pages


Reporting expressions (i.e. Gamlin discusses… He examines…)



  • Opening sentence, introduce the source and offer the highest level of generality (i.e. “parallels,” “Ondaatje’s narrative strategies,” “oral narrative strategies”)
  • Next, report the second-level generalities (i.e. the highest level concepts in opening sentence, generalize what comes next – “tale-telling nature” and “multiple experiences”)
  • Next, report lower level mentions (most specific level of the writer’s contribution – i.e. “the oral source text of The Epic of Gilgamesh”)
  • Finally, relate the source’s relevance to your topic and method of analysis (i.e. narrative elements challenge traditional concepts [ideas held by readers] concerning the validity of historical sources)


Essay Proposal

The proposal should include the following items:

1. Title

  • identifies the issue
  • names the site of the research, e.g. “Elements of Modernism in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land         0.5/10


2. Thesis

  • defines the issue, problem or argument of the essay
  • answers ‘why should I care?’                                                                                                                            1/10


3. Existing Knowledge

  • what literary critics have said on this issue                                                                                                    2/10


4. Knowledge Deficit

  • what remains to be said
  • what your essay will contribute to the scholarly debate
  • perhaps asks questions                                                                                                                                     1.5/10


5. Annotated Bibliography - review of 5 sources, 3 of which are journal articles

  • documentation format
  • discussion of the source’s contribution to scholarship
  • relevance to your proposed discussion                                                                                                          5/10


                                                                                                                                                                          Total Marks 10/10