core2s14 drilling down the sources assignment

Assignment Overview

There are several goals for this assignment, including:

  • finding scholarship and other textual archive information associated with your topic
  • considering how texts build on the work or other texts
  • learning how to use the social annotation software, Zotero
  • learning how to use the library databases, including EZBorrow and InterLibrary Loan

Zotero is one of those apps that just make you a happy researcher. It affords the ability to create an organized scholarly library of texts found online on the web and in subscription databases, such as JStor and Academic Search Premier, as well as Amazon and other sites. With the click of a mouse you can store all citation information and even download PDFs of articles when they are available. It works as both a browser plugin and a desktop app. It will also insert citations in Word and create a bibliography in a variety of citation formats. See the quick start video guide and when you have a few minutes, watch this excellent overview:

Assignment Specifics

There are two parts to this assignment:

  1. Setting up and adding sources to Zotero
  2. Drilling Down through the Sources

Setting up and adding sources to Zotero

For this portion of the assignment, complete the following:

  1. Go to Zotero and create an account (if there is an option, make your library public)
  2. Download and install Zotero on your computer as either a browser plugin or a stand-alone desktop application.
  3. Install the Zotero Microsoft Word extension plugin
  4. Join the core2s14 group
  5. Once installed, open Zotero and open the Preferences (note these screen shots are from the Mac Firefox version, so yours might look different):
    Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.29.34 AM
  6. Sync your account with your version of Zotero by clicking on the Sync Tab, add your account information, and select the boxes as in the screenshot below:Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.32.36 AM
  7. Add at least the following number and kind of sources associated with your research topic to your Zotero library:
    • scholarly: 5 full-text journal articles (at least 1 must be obtained from InterLibrary Loan)
    • scholarly: 5 books (at least 1 must be from obtained EZBorrow)
    • non-scholarly: any combination of 10 books, news articles (newspaper, magazine, etc), blog posts, white papers, reports, and so on

Drilling Down Through the Sources (updated 2/26/14)

This portion of the assignment is going to ask you to consider how scholars build on the work of others:

  1. Choose 1 of the five scholarly articles you added to your Zotero library
  2. Identify what seems like the most important scholarly source cited in the article.
  3. Find that source online, add it to your Zotero library, and read it.
  4. Identify what seems like the most important scholarly source cited in that new article.
  5. Find that source online, add it to your Zotero library, and read it.
  6. Compose a blog post in which you discuss how the articles are using prior work to help make enable their discussion(s). Point out specifically why the sources where used, how they seem to be in conversation with one another, and how the ideas are developing or changing in the various sources. Length: 650 – 750 words. Do not exceed 750 words. Be specific yet concise.

The sources that you find via the other sources can be articles or books, whichever is the most important one cited.

Optional: Repeat these steps for 1 of the five scholarly books you added to your Zotero library. If you do the optional portion, you will end up with TWO blog posts, one starting with the scholarly article, one starting with the scholarly book.

Due dates

3/25: Zotero library created, join the class group, and add all sources
4/8: Drilling down through the sources blog posts due online by start of class

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