ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHIES AND RESEARCH PROPOSALS

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This short chapter describes the elements and uses of an annotated bibliography and provides an example of how they are used in a research proposal.
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  Annotated Bibliography - 1 © Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D. Annotated Bibliographies and Research Proposals   Academic Writing: Process and Product By Andrew P. Johnson An annotated bibliography is list of reviewed sources followed by a short description or annotation of each.   Purpose There are four general purposes for an annotated bibliography. First, an annotated bibliography can be helpful in preparing for a large research paper or project. It invites you to read more critically and to organize your sources so that you can find the structure necessary for your literature review. The annotated bibliography also provides a sense of perspective or overview of your research topic. Second, outside a writing context, annotated bibliographies can be useful if you need to be informed about a program, policy, practice, or procedure. It puts important information together in an organized fashion so that you can easily see and refer to the key points, authors, dates, and journals. Third, some form of an annotated bibliography is usually included in research or grant proposal proposals. (I have included a sample proposal below.) Proposals for a Masters thesis or Doctoral dissertation demonstrate to your advisor or committee that you have done a general survey of the literature, that there is sufficient research and theoretical support for your question or topic, and that you have the background knowledge necessary to proceed. Also, the studies reviewed can inform and shape your research questions as well as methodology. And finally, an annotated bibliography is sometimes used to provide an overview of research in a particular area or on a particular topic. Steps with an Example   The steps for preparing an annotative bibliography for a theoretical article are described here. Step 1. Read and take notes.  Start with one of your sources, critically read and take notes (see Chapter 2). Step 2. Review and identify the salient points . If you are annotating a research study this is fairly straightforward (see Chapter 24). Annotating a theoretical article is not as clear. Here you will need to identify and synthesize what you believe to be the essential and relevant ideas. This is a bit different from note-taking where you simply record all ideas of interest or relevance. There isn’t uniformity in this  process or in what the end product looks like. Each  person’s understanding and interpretation of a theoretical article will b e a bit different based on his or her own experience, motive for reading, and writing topic or question. To demonstrate this process, I read and took notes on the Palmer (2003) article below. However, my notes contained too many ideas and did not enable me to accurately capture and  Annotated Bibliography - 2 © Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D. describe the essence of the article. I went back to the srcinal article, re-read it, and captured what I thought were nine important ideas. Palmer, P.J. (2003). Teaching with heart and soul: Reflections on spirituality in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 54  , 376-385 . 1. Defines spiritual in a sacred sense as an eternal yearning to be connected with something larger than your own ego. 2. Spiritual crisis = we find ourselves in the grip of something larger than the ego’s needs.  3. Language of the heart and soul has many names. We can use a term from depth psychology, individuation, to understand this in a sacred sense. Education of the heart and soul. 4. Education that addresses inner issues leads to empowerment and individuation. We are less apt to be shaped, influences by secular, economic, and political needs of groups and more likely to be shaped by Self or higher self or motives. Our own higher aspirations. 5. Liberal arts education seeks to liberate the mind. We can and must include this in teacher education programs. 6. Education of individuation in teacher education provides preservice teachers with the resources to face their own soul-challenging experience, as well as the resources to help their students develop the full potential and face similar challenges. 7. Dispersing data (information, skills, and concepts) without meaning or connections to self and bigger ideas, creates a soulless experiences that services to alienates and dulls 8. Relationships between the teacher and students must be deeply human for learning to occur. 9. Palmer recommends the teachers groups are created called Courage to Teach (CCT) for educators in which inner life issues are addressed   Step 3. Begin writing . Your goal here is to create a cohesive yet concise overview of the source that accurately depicts the relevant ideas. This is usually one to three paragraphs in length. Keep in mind that you are writing to an audience who has not read the article. Thus, you may need to include some additional explanation to elucidate and connect ideas. You may also need to move some ideas around. That is, they may be presented in your annotation in a different order than they appeared in the source. Finally, in writing this overview you may find, as I did below, that some ideas that you included in step 2 do not add to the clarity of your annotation, and thus, should not be included. Palmer, P.J. (2003). Teaching with heart and soul: Reflections on spirituality in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 54  , 376-385. Palmer defines spirituality in a sacred sense as an eternal yearning to be connected with something larger than your own ego. He posits that spirituality, what he calls the language of the heart and soul, should be addressed in a secular sense in our K-12 schools and teacher education programs. Using a term from depth psychology, this would be individuation. Individuation is to understand and embrace your inner self (Self) in order to achieve your full potential. Including inner issues in both teacher education and K-12 education is a means toward this end. Education of individuation addresses inner issues and can lead to individuation and empowerment. Here we are less likely to be shaped and influenced by the social, economic, emotional, or political needs of others and more likely to be influenced by our own ideals or Self. Toward this end, liberal arts education, one that seeks to liberate the mind by addressing inner issues, can and must be included in teacher education programs. The education of individuation in teacher education programs provides preservice teachers with the resources necessary to face their own soul-challenging experiences. It also provides them with the resources to help their future students individuate and face similar challenges. We must move beyond simply dispersing data or teaching knowledge and skills without connection to greater meaning. This creates a soulless experience that serves only to alienate and dull students and teachers and impede their path to individuation.    Annotated Bibliography - 3 © Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D. As part of Step 3, I would strongly recommend that you re-read and revise your annotations several times. These descriptions must be extremely concise and tightly written. Step 4. Move on to the next source and repeated the process. Step 5. Organize into groups. The last step is to organize your individual annotations into sections or groups related to topics. For example, if my topic were the professional development of teachers, the annotation above would most likely go into a section related to inner development or inner dimensions. Some sources call for an annotated bibliography to be organized alphabetically. This may be preferable if you are annotating only a few sources Annotated Bibliography as Part of a Research Proposal The last thing I wish to demonstrate here is what an annotated bibliography might look like as part of a research proposal. The proposal below is for a teacher action research project (Johnson, 2012). You can see how the annotated bibliography emerges naturally from the topic. As well, the research questions and the methodology were informed and shaped by the studies reviewed in the annotated bibliography. Proposal for Action Research Project Department Special Education Arthur B. Student January 15, 2018 This is a proposal for my action research project. I plan to conduct this research project from May 5 th  to May 23 rd , 2016. Topic The topic for this action research project low ability math students and their use of math dialogue journals (MDJ). Annotated Bibliography This section describes two studies related to dialogue journals.   Smith study .  Smith (2015 ) examined the effects of dialogue journals on students’ understanding of psychology. For this study, 40 subjects were chosen from a pool of 150 college psychology students and randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. The treatment group used dialogue journals with daily journal prompts and weekly responses from instructors. The control group was given the same instruction experience without the use of  journals. At the end of the semester both groups took the Eggens Comprehensive Psychology Test as a post treatment measure. It was found that the experimental group scored significantly higher than the control group in this measure. It may be inferred that dialogue journals have some positive effect on students understand of complex concepts related to psychology. Jacobson and Smith study .  Jacobson and Smith (2014) wanted to see if dialogue  journals had any effect on students’ reasoning ability. The subjects for this study were 82 adults selected from a college introductory psychology course. They were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. The Jenson Reasoning Test was given as a pre-treatment measure and showed no statistically significant differences between the two groups. Over a two-month period, the treatment group was given real life reasoning problems for them to solve each week. Students were asked to solve the problem and explain their reasoning along with any questions or confusion they had. Research assistants would collect the journals and respond to students ’  entries. During this time, the control group was given the same problem and simply asked to answer it. Their answers were simply evaluated as being right or wrong. At the end of two month the Jenson Reasoning Test was again given. Post-treatment measures showed significant difference favoring the experimental group on this measure. It appears that dialogue  Annotated Bibliography - 4 © Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D.  journals used with instructor’s response seems to have a positive effect on students’ ability to solving these logical thinking problems. Summary of dialogue journals studies.  The studies reviewed seem to indicate the following: 1. Dialogue journals seemed to positively affect students’ understand of complex psychology concepts (Smith, 2015). 2. Dialogue journals used to solve reasoning problems seem to have a significant effect on students’ ability to think logically (Jacobson & Smith , 2014). Application. These two studies both examine the effects of dialogue journals. They tell me that dialogue journals can be used to guide or enhance studen ts’ understanding and thinking ability. These are both important elements of learning how to understand and apply mathematics. I think the important part of this will be the response that I give students. This will be used to guide students thought process as well as clear up confusion. Questions The research questions I am interested in are: 1. How do MDJ work with my low ability math students? 2. Are MDJ effective in helping my students’ ability to understand math processes?  3. Do students find MDJ helpful and/or enjoyable? Methodology This section describes the methodology used in this action research project. Participants. There will be 12 fifth grade students participating in this study. They are 11 and 12 years old. Eight are male and four are female. They are all part of my afternoon, low-ability homogeneous math class. Materials. Each student will be using a regular 8”x10.5” notebook as a MDJ. Also used in this study will be a student survey. This survey will contain 5 Likert-like questions that ask students to rate the effectiveness of various aspects of the MDJ as well as 3 open-ended questions ( see Appendix A ) Data. Data collected will be students’ MDJ, teacher field notes, and student surveys. The MDJ will be colle cted after three weeks. Here students’ responses and my comments will be analyzed. Daily lesson plans will be used to record my field notes. At the end of each lesson I will use the back of the lesson plan to record my general observations and noticeable events, as well as procedures that seem to be effective and or less effective. Finally, a survey will be given to students to assess their perception of the MDJ. Procedures.  We are currently using MDJ with my fifth grade math class. We use them three ways. First, they are used for scaffolded instruction. As I introduce a new procedure, students go through the steps with me, using their math journals to record each step. Second, in small group students explain the steps to each other then record the instruction in their words in their journal. Students are also encouraged to use picture or diagrams to help them remember or understand math procedures. And third, at the end of class I ask students to record two clear ideas and two fuzzy ideas. This allows me to engage in a direct written dialogue with students. I also have students record their own homework scores. After math class, students put their journals in a milk carton on the shelf. This keeps the  journals from being lost or used for other purposes. It also enables me to have daily access to them. I generally try to respond to three MDJ every day. This enables me to give a very personal response to each student every four days. For this study, I will select a three-week period to examine and analyze. Everything in my math class will be run as I normally would during this period with the exception that I will use the back of the daily lesson plans for in depth reflection and students will be given a survey at the end of the three weeks. Organization and analysis of data. In examining students’ MDJ, I will be looking to see if I notice patterns or reoccurring themes. I will be looking to see how they use their MDJ and what sorts of things they put in them. I will also be looking for patterns and the quality of student responses in the comments I have written in their journals. If possible, inductive analysis will be used to find and describe grouping patterns and numbers within each group. The field notes will also be examined for emerging patterns. I will also look to see if there are any relationship between my observations and student responses in their MDJ.  Annotated Bibliography - 5 © Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D. The survey will contain quantifiable data as well as open-ended comments. Average scores will be determined for each question that uses the Likert-response. I will look for reoccurring patterns to emerge on the open-ended responses. If possible, inductive analysis will be used find and describe grouping patterns and numbers within each group.
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