GBK 101 Kopp

by gratz_ae — last modified 2015-09-18T14:50:49-04:00

This guide is designed to help you complete your research assignment in this class. If you need more assistance, please don't hesitate to contact Amy Gratz, the librarian for your class (contact information on right).

Scholarly and Popular Sources

(For more information, see this guide)

Most sources of information fall into one of these two categories. Here's how they're different:

"Scholarly" (aka "academic" or "peer-reviewed") periodicals are usually published by an association, institution, or scholarly press. They contain articles written by scholars, professors, and researchers in a particular discipline, and are intended for other scholars and researchers in the field. Articles published in these journals are sent to other experts in the field to be reviewed prior to publication.

“Popular” periodicals are publications that are intended for the general public, and whose main purpose is usually entertainment. Articles in these publications are generally written by paid journalists or columnists, and reviewed by an editor.

Reasons to use Scholarly Sources:
  • They are generally the most highly valued source of information in academic circles
  • They are written by and reviewed by experts in the field
  • The information they contain critically examines some aspect of the world

Reasons to use Popular Sources:

  • They are easier to understand because they are written for the general public
  • They are more likely to contain information on recent events
  • They can give you an insight into what type of information is available to the general populace on a subject

Evaluating Sources 

 In addition to knowing what type of source you have, there are several other criteria for deciding whether or not to use a source in your paper. Start with the C.R.A.P. test to do a basic evaluation:

Currency: is the information recent enough for your topic?

  • Not sure? Talk to your professor or a librarian

Relevancy: does the information relate to your topic, either directly or indirectly?

  • Directly relevant sources are better, but you may need to use less relevant sources and make the connections to your topic for your reader

Authority: who wrote the information, and are they an authoritative source?

  • For this assignment, you want to use works written by scholars who are experts in an appropriate field

Purpose: what was the intent of the author when writing this information?

  • Most scholarly sources are informative, but the author may also be trying to persuade you to agree with them. You should also consider whether or not they agree with the majority of scholars on the given topic

In-Class Activity:

Article #1          Article #2        Article #3        Article #4        Article #5         Article #6

Annotated Bibliographies

The main thing to remember is that an annotation is a critical summary of a source. As you read a source, you need to do a close, critical reading, somewhat similar to what you do with Great Books and annotating your reading. Most importantly, you need to apply your own critical thinking skills: does the author's argument make sense? can you think of any counter-arguments or points they failed to consider? Do they seem to be manipulating the data in any way?

More information on how to write an annotated bibliography is available here.

Brainstorming Keywords

A key first step in researching is brainstorming search terms, or keywords. This will help you think of different aspects of your topic and flesh out possible directions to take when researching or writing, and gives you a pool of potential terms to go back to if your first few tries don't yield relevant results. At this point in the research process, it is often useful to do some pre-research by looking at resources like Wikipedia to get some idea of the scope for the topic. Consider some of the following questions as you generate your list of terms:

  • When did Great Books originally come about as a movement?
  • Who are/were some of the main players in the Great Books movement?
  • Where are Great Books programs currently offered?
  • What are some alternate terms for Great Books?
  • What are some related/broader terms for Great Books?

Finding Sources

Discovery - an EBSCO service allowing you to search multiple databases and the library catalog simultaneously. This service is made available to us through GALILEO, Georgia Library Learning Online, an initiative of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Research Library (ProQuest) - This is a general database that provides access to thousands of scholarly journals and popular magazines from a wide variety of disciplines. This database is not searched via Discovery.

Course Reserves

I have placed two of the most relevant books for this topic on course reserve for your class. These items may be checked out at the circulation desk and used in the library for up to 2 hours at a time. While I do think these works were important enough to make accessible to all of the students researching this topic, please keep in mind that this debate extends beyond Bloom! These works make a good jumping off point, but are not the only sources you need to use for this assignment!

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom
This book is one of the most influential works on the debate over great books. Since it was published in 1987, thousands of other articles and books have cited this work, with many authors vehemently agreeing, or disagreeing, with Bloom.  

Beyond Cheering and Bashing: New Perspectives on the Closing of the American Mind, edited by William K. Buckley and James Seaton 
This book contains a number of essays sharing multiple perspectives in the debate on Great Books. Published in 1992, many of these are directly in response to Bloom's book. While you may wish to use more than one essay from this book for your paper, please remember that if you use more than 2, you should cite the book as a whole, and count it as a single source.