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Literature homework | ILR260 | NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

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Library Research Report Assignment

This assignment is due at the end of Week Two. Please submit your work through the

“Library Research Report” assignment link in Week Two.

Length:

400-600 words. 4-6 entries; about 60-120 words per source .

Purpose/goals of the assignment:

• Develop your ability to conduct scholarly research and relate the results of this

research to a specific inquiry.

• Develop your ability to translate specialist information into non-specialist language

draft building blocks for the final report.

• Practice APA citation style (or MLA if you are majoring in a humanities field).

Assignment Introduction:

Answering a research question involves seeking out and processing information that

helps you answer that question. This is true whether you are researching insurance plans

or conducting academic research. In developing the Library Research Report, you will seek

out scholarly articles relevant to your research question, extracting ideas from them

that you will later synthesize into a final report (i.e., the final version of your project) and

an answer–however tentative–to your research question.

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This Library Research Report can be seen as a type of “annotated bibliography.” But

please note that your goal in developing this report is not simply to summarize sources;

your purpose here is to focus on finding research that is relevant to your research

question. As you write your summaries, you will be producing “building blocks” for the

first draft of your Final Research Project. This means that you should be summarizing

only content that is directly relevant to your research question. Your writing should also

be clear and accessible to non-specialist readers. A carefully constructed Library

Research Report will significantly lighten your workload when you reach Week Three,

when the rough draft of your Final Research Project is due, since you’ll be able to

construct your draft from writing you’ve already completed rather than starting from

scratch.

Assignment Specifications

Your finished Library Research Report should include:

• Your name at the top of the document. (You can follow strict APA if you’d like and

include a separate title page, but this is not required);

• Your research question (at the top of the report);

• Complete and correct citations for 4-6 scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles

accessed through NU Library databases;

• A paragraph of 60-120 words on each source that answers the following questions:

WHO?

Who stands behind the information? Your entry should identify (quickly and concisely) the

background/credentials that connect the article’s author/s to the topic. (See Lecture 6 in

the Week Two Lectures folder) on identifying scholarly sources for guidance and

examples: Identifying Sources (Part 2)

WHAT?

Identify a claim (or claims) presented in the article that is relevant to your inquiry.

(Remember, your task is not to summarize the entire article, but to summarize the article

content that is relevant for your own inquiry. In some cases, of course, the entire article

may be directly relevant to your project.)

HOW?

How is the claim supported? How do the authors back up the claim? (Don’t go nuts here

and summarize every detail of the methodology. Instead, strive for the kind of concise,

general summary one might find in a news account of recent research findings.)

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SO WHAT?

What is the relevance of the claim for your inquiry? (Sometimes you’ll be able to express the

“what” and “so what” at the same time, in which case you shouldn’t try to artificially

separate them. Just make sure that your paragraph addresses all of the categories–WHO,

WHAT, HOW, and SO WHAT? And remember that your answer to the “so what?” question

should point to your own research inquiry.)

Tip! If you’re having trouble getting started, tackle each of the above questions—

Who/What/How/So What? —one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have written—or at

least sketched out–your first paragraph.

Note: Limit your use of direct quotation. Quote only when you need to call attention to

key terms or phrases. Use complete sentences, correct spelling and punctuation, etc.

Example: Sample Library Research Report

Source-selection checklist:

This assignment requires you to engage with specialist sources–specifically, peer-

reviewed journal articles. If a source you’ve found is a peer-reviewed journal article, you

should be able to answer “yes” to all of the questions below:

CONTENT

Does the source read like a scholarly article? (If it sounds more like a news article or a

review, it’s probably not a scholarly article.)

CITATIONS/REFERENCES

Does the article include in-text citations and end references? Is the Reference list fairly

substantial (i.e., more than just a handful of citations)?

CREDENTIALS

Is the author’s institutional affiliation noted? (For example, does a university or

government email address accompany the byline? Or is there a bio that explains the

author’s area/s of expertise?)

PEER-REVIEWED

Is the journal listed in Ulrichsweb as peer-reviewed? (For a review of how to use

Ulrichsweb, see the Journal Databases Activity. Remember that you search Ulrichsweb by

journal title, not by article title.)

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Citation help

Feel free to use citation-generator tools such as those found in library databases; just

remember to check these computer-generated citations carefully. Here is a short APA

reference sheet you may find helpful: http://nu.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=8766101

You’ll notice that APA no longer requires that you identify the database from which you

retrieved an article. It’s fine, though, if you want to include this information. (Some

instructors still prefer to see this information included.)

If you are having trouble finding peer-reviewed sources relevant to your

topic…

• Widen the lens. Remember, a “relevant” source is rarely a source on your exact topic. As

noted in the Journal Databases Activity and in Lecture 4 in the Week Two Lectures folder,

video lecture on “The myth of the perfect source,” a relevant peer-reviewed source is any

source that can help you bring a scholarly perspective to your topic.

• Ask for help from an NU reference librarian: http://library.nu.edu/

• Where appropriate, bring in one or two (1-2) in-depth, high-quality sources that are not

peer-reviewed journal articles. For example, your searching may uncover an in-depth

piece of investigative reporting or a major government report that is relevant to your

topic. For a review of how to distinguish between a regular news report and an in-depth

news report, see the supplemental practice activity: Do a News Search, located in the

guidelines for the Web Search Activity. For each source you include in your Library

Research Report that is not peer-reviewed, take extra care to establish who stands behind

the information and why the information can be regarded as reliable.

Grading information

Note: Points will be deducted for deviations from assignment

requirements/specifications. Greater deviations will result in greater deductions. Per

course policy, scores of 50% and higher are reserved for submissions that attempt to

meet assignment requirement/specifications [see below]. ↓

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A B C D F

Source Source Sources meet Sources mostly meet Sources mostly

selection meets selection meets assignment assignment requirements, do not meet

assignment assignment requirements. A but a significant assignment

requirements; requirements; small percentage percentage of the sources requirements.

sources are sources are of the sources exhibit problems such as Many source-

strong and strong and may exhibit insufficient currency, selection

skillfully chosen relevant to the problems such relevancy, or depth. problems.

for direct inquiry. as insufficient

relevance and currency,

for the relevancy, or

substance and depth.

complexity they

bring to the

inquiry.

What? and So

What? are

addressed

clearly,

concisely, and

accurately.

What? and So

What? are

addressed

clearly and

accurately.

What? and So

What? are

addressed

unclearly or

inaccurately in

most parts of

the report.

How? question How? question How? question is, How? question is How? question

is addressed is addressed for the most addressed unclearly or is addressed

clearly, clearly and part, addressed inaccurately in several unclearly or

concisely, and accurately. clearly and parts of the report. inaccurately in

accurately. accurately. most parts of

the report.

Who? question Who? question Who? question is, Who? question is Who? question

is addressed is addressed for the most addressed unclearly or is addressed

clearly, clearly and part, addressed inaccurately in several unclearly or

concisely, and accurately. clearly and parts of the report. inaccurately in

accurately. accurately. most parts of

the report.

Relationship Relationship Relationship Relationship between Relationship

between entry between entry between entry entry and research between entry

and research and research and research question is unclear in and research

question is question is question is places and cannot be question is

unambiguous; sufficiently unclear in places; easily inferred; significant unclear for

strong clear; good some apparent misalignment between most of the

alignment alignment misalignment sources and inquiry report; report

between between between sources content mostly

sources and sources and and inquiry does not align

inquiry inquiry with inquiry as

expressed in

What? and So What? and So What? are

What? are, for addressed unclearly or

the most part, inaccurately in several

addressed clearly parts of the report.

and accurately.

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the research

question

Confidence in Conveys a good Presence of Awkward expression and Awkward

use of Standard understanding sentence-level sentence-level errors occur expression

English, of Standard errors and frequently, often impeding and sentence-

language English; the awkwardness of understanding. level errors

reflects a writer is clear in expression, but occur

practiced his/her attempt not of such throughout the

and/or refined to articulate frequency and report and

understanding ideas, but may severity as to significantly

of syntax and demonstrate significantly impede

usage. moments of impede understanding.

“flat” or understanding.

unrefined

language.

Adheres to APA

citation format

(MLA for

arts/humanities

majors)

Adheres to APA

citation format

(MLA for

arts/humanities

majors);

occasional

citation errors

are minor and

Evidence of

attempt to

adhere to APA

citation format

(MLA for

arts/humanities

majors), but with

a few errors in

Insufficient adherence to

APA citation format (MLA

for arts/humanities

majors);

significant/communication-

impeding errors in

presentation and content

of source citations.

Major

deviations

from APA or

MLA citation

format

are at the level

of presentation.

presentation and

content that

could create

some difficulty

for readers trying

to understand or

locate sources.

QUICK QUOTE

Approximately 250 words