This assignment is designed to increase your knowledge of one major early American writer; to enhance your research, synthesis, and documentation skills; and to develop information literacy. Focus on one of the authors listed below:
- William Bradford
- Anne Bradstreet
- Jonathan Edwards
- Cotton Mather
- Annis Boudinot Stockton
- Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson
- Benjamin Franklin
- Thomas Paine
- John Adams
- Thomas Jefferson
- Alexander Hamilton
- Phyllis Wheatley
- Sarah Margaret Fuller
- Emily Dickinson
- Herman Melville
- Washington Irving
- William Lloyd Garrison
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Henry David Thoreau
- Lydia Maria Child
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- William Cullen Bryant
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
You will need to read two works by the author you choose to research (not including assigned works), so make sure you choose one whose works you can access and read. If you would like to do your InfoQuest on an early American writer that is not listed, contact your instructor to obtain permission before proceeding. You may not use Ralph Waldo Emerson as the topic of your InfoQuest.
You need to research the following bulleted topics for inclusion in your completed InfoQuest Project. Please note that Wikipedia, Shmoop, Bloom’s Literature, Amazon, and other non-critical sources are not appropriate for this assignment. You also need to move beyond encyclopedias as sources; only one encyclopedia article will be allowed. Textbooks (history or literature) are fine to use, and scholarly journal articles or books are acceptable sources. The PTC library databases contain a multitude of resources that may be helpful and are critical, academic sources. Instructions for accessing the databases can be found in D2L under your HELP & HOW TO Module as well as below under the Critical Resource Analysis heading.
Your document should be double-spaced with 1” margins on all sides. With the exception of the MLA headings on page 1—the cover page takes the place of this—your InfoQuest should meet all MLA formatting guidelines. Both Calibri 11 pt. or Times New Roman 12 pt. are acceptable, but choose one of these fonts and be consistent. You should also have a header (Last name page number) in the top right corner of your InfoQuest pages. Please begin each section on a new page—simply type the name of the section in boldface at the top of the page (ex. Reflection at the beginning of the Reflection section). The sections listed below should all be included.
Try to locate a picture (or pictures) to include on the cover page (and other relevant pages) in your project. Remember to acknowledge your source parenthetically beneath the picture, and also include a full citation in the works-cited section of the project. Include the title of your InfoQuest, and your name, the course, and the date.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Provide a neat, attractive table of contents with the appropriate page numbers to match the page numbers in your InfoQuest header.
300-WORD HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Research what was happening historically during the writer’s lifetime. You should take a look at what specifically was taking place in the region where the author lived/wrote. You could also consider what was happening in the country and in the world. In the “Historical Perspective” section of this project, write a minimum of 300 words, double-spaced, synthesizing what you learned. Do not simply piece together quoted material from different sources, as this amounts to plagiarism. Think of synthesis like this: compile all of the research you’ve gathered and read over it thoroughly. Then, set it aside, and without looking at it, discuss what you learned in your own words. Recall that when you are synthesizing historical info, in-text citations are only necessary when you direct quote. If you choose to quote a source, keep it to a minimum–do not let quotes take over and cite any quoted material. Avoid first and second person pronouns and contractions. This section should not contain the author’s personal/biographical information.
300-WORD BIOGRAPHICAL INFO
For this section, research the author’s personal history, his/her background. Synthesizing what you learned, write a minimum of 300 words, double-spaced, in which you briefly describe the author’s personal history. Recall that when you are synthesizing historical/biographical info, in-text citations are only necessary when you direct quote. Do not let quotes take over—if you choose to quote a source, keep it to a minimum. Avoid first and second person pronouns and contractions.
TWO 350-WORD REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
Read two other works by the author (other than any assigned in our class this semester). Keep in mind that you may not have sufficient time to read novel-length works, so it may be best to choose works that are shorter, for example, essays, letters, or poetry. In this section of your report, you will compose two paragraphs for each of the works you read.
The first paragraph should be a present-tense summary of the work. Consider this paragraph like the back of a novel you might pick up at the grocery store. Briefly describe the overall work. Keep quoting to a minimum and cite the source appropriately if you quote it.
The second paragraph should be an analysis of the work. Consider the following: What stands out about the work? How does the work represent some aspect of early American literature? Characteristics of early American literature include diverse ethnicities, little to no connection to country of origin, “mild government,” industriousness, lack of nobility (ex. dukes, duchesses, princes, etc.), the idea of equality, the value of family, recognition of a violation of rights, independence, etc. How does the work represent early American literature? Do not use secondary sources on this section. Use only the primary text. I want to read your thoughts on the text/author, not someone else’s.
Each representative work should be at least 350 words and consist of at least two paragraphs (summary and analysis). Avoid first and second person pronouns.
2-ENTRY CRITICAL RESOURCE ANALYSIS
Access the library’s online databases, which you can located by following the steps listed below:
* PTC HomepageCollege Resources tabLibraryLibrary ResourcesDatabases
You may be prompted to enter a username and password if you are working from an off-campus computer. The username is your P-number, and the password is your birthday (MMDDYY). Locate critical articles or web pages via the databases (or other credible scholarly articles or sites on the web) that discuss the author and/or the author’s works. These should be secondary sources (about the author/works), not primary sources (works by the author) or reviews of other secondary sources (ex. reviews of a book written about your chosen author). Consider using the database JSTOR or Academic Search Complete to help you locate critical articles. Please note that Wikipedia, Shmoop, Bloom’s Literature, Amazon, and other non-critical sources are not appropriate for this assignment.
Then, compile a list of Critical Sources with a minimum of two entries. The entries should be arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name (or title if no author is provided).
Both entries in the “Critical Resource Analysis” section of your project should minimally have the following components:
- A properly formatted 8th edition MLA work cited entry (Do not copy-and-paste what is listed at the bottom of the source—these are often incorrect. Use the resources provided for you in the HELP & HOW TO Module to help you.
- An opening sentence stating what type of article/essay the source is
- A brief present-tense summary of the article/page (at least three to four sentences) that does not depend on quotes from the source. You should avoid quoting in the Critical Resource Analysis section.
- A brief evaluation/assessment of the article/page (at least two to three sentences) in which you answer questions regarding the validity of the source. Is it a valuable source of information? Is it biased? Is the author qualified to make such assertions/conclusions? How does the article enhance a reader’s understanding of a particular work and/or the author’s place in early American literary tradition?
Avoid first and second person pronouns and contractions. Do not include quotes in your analyses.
Taking into consideration the discussions and assignments in our course, in a 200 word (minimum) response, detail in the “Reflection” section of this project what you learned about this author, his/her contributions to American literary tradition and about yourself as an information-literate researcher. You may use first person pronouns in this section, but do not use second person pronouns.
Include a bibliography with correct 8th edition MLA documentation for the sources you used for your research. Sources in the Critical Resources Analysis section do not need to be included here unless you quoted them in other sections of your InfoQuest.
Read through your InfoQuest carefully, checking for spelling, sentence-structure, word choice, capitalization and punctuation errors.
If you have questions about this assignment, you can ask your classmates or contact your instructor. Please note that this assignment is not eligible for an extension. Do not wait until the last minute to complete this assignment.