Friday, March 7, 2014

LIt Crit and the Road to Analyzing....

One of my favorite projects various departments do is to create an annotated bibliography. Students in biology have been working on this for a few months now. Such a great skill to have, all students entering college will have to know how to really use and understand this skill. The junior English classes are currently tackling this key skill through the analysis of various pieces of literature using literary criticism. Digging into the literary databases we have access to, using the advanced search features and understanding how to use search terms effectively, students have been looking at various themes in novels such as The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. Students are also taking advantage of the numerous print resources we have on these novels. They are finding the books to be more helpful than anything else they have stumbled upon as they are realizing some authors devote their lives to literary criticism. For me, watching a student decide on a theme to analyze, research the topic and have that "aha" moment when it all begins to make sense is what this is all about. I always stress to the students that research is a messy affair! If done correctly, there will never be that one article or resource that will answer your question because ideally you are gathering information and evidence to create something new. If you find something that can write your whole paper then you are not offering anything new. You may only find a paragraph or two in a 6 page article that is helpful but those two paragraphs could be THE ones that give you that aha moment! It is like putting together a puzzle and when it all comes together and you can see the design it is pretty amazing!!

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