Next, candidates should locate and read relevant critical work; summarize and critique that work; compile the preliminary annotated bibliography of 10-15 of the most significant items published after 2000 (one of these essays may be published before 2000 if it is sufficiently seminal that all subsequent work responds to it in some way); and write the proposal. Selecting the most appropriate work for purposes of the review essay requires that students must read widely and critically to arrive at the focused bibliography of 10-15 items. Students may, of course, select critical work they have previously read for seminars or for seminar papers. Because some literary criticism is fairly sophisticated, students will need to reread, use a dictionary, go to the primary texts and other sources for help in understanding the critic’s approach. Annotations of one paragraph should: (1) identify the critic’s approach and thesis, (2) summarize the argument, (3) assess the work’s relevance to the student’s topic, and (4) justify the selection.
Use the following questions to guide your thesis proposal. We suggest that you use them as subheadings in your proposal. The proposal should be approximately two to three pages long (not including a preliminary annotated bibliography).
PRELIMINARY ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
The main difference is that the Group Study Project is undertaken by groups of two, three or four students working together. Its focus is therefore on collaboration and intellectual interaction; on the sharing out of research tasks and on the discussion and synthesis of findings. It may, but does not necessarily, involve the use of primary sources; rather, its focus should be on a particular issue, problem or argument in the historical literature, that is, on a so-called ‘historiographical debate’. It is assessed by three pieces of written work, the first two produced by each member of the group individually and the third produced collectively by the group: (a) a preliminary annotated bibliography relating to a particular aspect of the research topic; (b) an essay on that aspect; (c) a final, jointly-authored essay.