Information Literacy Assignments

All of these assignments, culled from ENGL 1004, 1010, and 1011, incorporate research at the library that would help fulfill the information literacy requirement of Freshman English. For more information on the information literacy assignment, see that section of our website.

Title: American Protest Literature (Rebecca Nisetch and Mandy Suhr-Sytsma)
Description/Goals: Asks students to analyze a song or group of songs, to situate them in their historical context, and discuss the role they believe the songs had in shaping the political/social dynamics of the songs' focus.
Texts Used: Texts by John Stauffer, Upton Sinclair, Barbara Erenreich, Amandla! and various songs.

Title: The "Cultural Geneaology" of an Advertising Campaign (Dan Graham)
Description/Goals: This is a two-part assignment. First, in a 3-page response, students are asked to select an advertisement and look at the way it reinforces, redefines, or challenges a stereotype. Then, in an 8-page research project, the students go on to construct an argument about an advertising campaign (or other series of related ads), tracing the campaign's "cultural genealogy" to look at constructed codes of behavior. [selected from the Fall 2011 assignment review]
Texts Used: Bordo, "Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body"; Percy, "Loss of the Creature"; Jeane Kilbourne, Killing Us Softly 4; Sut Jhally, Tough Guise

Title: Holocaust Research Assignment
Description/Goals: To help students learn to situate themselves as a reader and writer in an academic community by reading and evaluating the relationship between motives, ideas, values, and rhetorical choices.
Texts Used: Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale

Title: Imaging Mexico (Jared Demick)
Description/Goals: Students research a Mecixan issue/movement/controversy, looking at both what scholars are saying about it, and what popular culture says, constructing an argument about the popular depiction. [selected from the Fall 2011 assignment review]
Texts Used: Daniel Hernandez, Down and Delirious in Mexico City

Title: Notions of Progress: Discover and Invention Part 1 and Part 2 (Sam Robinson)
Description/Goals: Asks students to research technologies or discoveries that caused paradigm shifts.
Texts Used: Scott DeVeau, "Progress and the Bean"; Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Title: Serialized Novels (Mary Isbell)
Description/Goals: Asks students to use a single installment of a serialized novel as a lens for "a problem/relationship emerging from texts we are reading together as a class and a contemporary text of your own choosing." This assignment icorporates research at the Dodd Center.
Texts Used: Dickens, Great Expectations; Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin

Title: Song Research (Mary Isbell)
Description/Goals: Asks students to situate a particular song with a musical and historical context.
Related Assignments: Song Sampling


Non-Paper Research Assignments

Not all information literacy assignments need to be full papers. Here are a set of shorter assignments that incorporate research, which could either be used to lead into a research paper or just stand on their own.

Title: Aeschylus’s Agamemnon Library Research Assignment
Description/Goals: Asks students to identify a single scholarly article, and two articles that it cites, and then discuss how a scholarly dialogue is created.
Texts Used: Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Title: Conducting Literary Archaeology: Research Proposal, Annotated Bibliography (Joanna Huckins)
Description/Goals: These two assignments help students lead up to the writing of a full-length research paper, by helping them choose a topic and begin to find sources.
Texts Used: Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Title: Research Presentations on The Harlem Renaissance
Description/Goals: Students are asked to research historical, biographical, and literary aspects of the Harlem Renaissance in order to produce presentations to contextualize their readings of Langston Hughes' The Ways of White Folk. Students work in pairs, and engage in library research.
Texts Used: Langston Hughes, The Ways of White Folk