Monday, March 27, 2017

Research Argument: Helpful handouts

Maria Stevens
11 AP Language
15 September 2016



    1. Summarize: What are the main details or ideas? What is the point of this book or video or article or interview? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this source is about, what would you say? This may include paraphrase, but must include at least one direct quotation (in either case, you should use parenthetical citation for facts/quotes/details).
    2. Assess: After summarizing the source, evaluate it. How does it compare with other sources or your prior knowledge? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?  What are the author’s/speaker’s credentials or expertise? How do you know?
    3. Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask yourself how it fits into your research. How was this source helpful or useful to you? How does it help you shape your argument or thinking? How has it changed what you think about the topic? What makes this source’s perspective special or significant?


An annotation is a brief description of a work, describing its content.  A critical annotation evaluates the usefulness of the work for a particular audience or situation.  
It should include the following:
  • Works Citation
  • Information to explain the authority and/or qualifications of the author.  For example, “Dr. William Smith, a history professor at XYZ University, based his book on 20 years of research and scholarship.”
  • Scope and main purpose of the work.
  • Bias
  • Intended audience and level of reading difficulty.  For example, “A popular account directed at educated adults.”
  • The relationship to other works you’ve researched in terms of what is  reinforced and what is new or different.


  • Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor Books, 1995. Print.
  • Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic. In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun.  Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.  Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises.  Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.  


Potts, Courtney.  “1936: The ‘Nazi Olympics’.”  New York Times Upfront.  New York Times Upfront.  Web → →→ →database.  23 Sept. 2015.  
This piece was written by Courtney Potts, a credible author for the New York Times. The work’s main focus is on the Nazi Olympics and how Hitler viewed other races.  She mentions how Hitler congratulated all the athletes except for those who were African American or Jewish.  Jesse Owens and other African Americans had already known segregation and had lived with it, and they still felt a sense of discrimination in Germany, especially when they weren’t invited to shake Hitler’s hand.  Potts notes that Hitler passed the Nuremburg laws in 1935 prior to the Olympic games.  These laws further separated and isolated the Jews from German society.  The International Olympic Committee even considered having a different country host the Olympics because they feared that Jewish athletes would be mistreated.  Potts speaks with no bias, even though it is from an American standpoint, her work consists mainly of facts and universally known topics.  Because of its’ sophisticated language, this piece is directed towards educated young adults and adults.  Other sources that I have looked at have, for the most part, reinforced what Potts is saying in this source.  


OUTLINE: (the following sample is for a poet biography)
Student Name Name 1
English 12 AP
28 February 2017
Langston Hughes Outline

  1. Seen as a major contributor not only to the African American community but also to American poetry, Langston Hughes used poetry to bring awareness to many social problems that plagued not only the domestic atmosphere but also the international scene
  2. Hughes attributes his literary influences as a result of his childhood.
    1. When his parents split up Hughes was still an infant and moved in with his grandmother ( Editors).
      1. Mary Patterson Langston, his grandmother, often told him stories about valiant slaves and always emphasized the importance of laughter in times of disarray (Rampersad).
        1. This is presented in Hughes’ poems Not Without Laughter and Laughing to Keep From Crying.
      2. During his lonely childhood, the only place Hughes had consistency was through his poetry.
        1. After his grandmother died, Hughes began to move around a lot.
          1. He first moved in with his mother and stepfather and attended high school in Columbus, Ohio.
          2. He later moved in with his father who moved out to Mexico.
            1. His father moved to Mexico because of the racism that was still present and since he wanted to distance himself from the African American community (
        2. In high school he was introduced to poets such as Carl Sandburg, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Walt Whitman who served as major influences later in his life (Als).
          1. Hughes began to write for the school newspaper and yearbook, and also started to write dramatic plays, short stories, and poetry.
  3. With his lyrical prowess and melodious tunes, Hughes still remains the most influential poet when it comes to the Harlem Renaissance due to his artistic independence.
    1. Hughes used his platform to challenge oppression and injustice not only domestically but also internationally.
      1. He wrote about his experiences in places from California all the way to the Soviet Union.
    2. Hughes also won notable awards as a result of his contributions.
      1. He won the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1935, the NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1960, the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1961, and more.