Rhetorical Bibliography

Individual rhetorical bibliography – (3-4 pages) 15%
Students will choose to investigate a more narrow topic within the larger course focus.

Each student will compile a rhetorical bibliography of at least 3 sources. These sources should be chosen for how they help the student understand the topic and the problems associated with the topic. For example, if a student chose the future of public transportation, a student could compile government research on the carbon footprint of hybrid buses, business trade press essays analyzing manufacturing cost of hybrid busses, and popular science articles detailing advances in hybrid technology. (Replace last sentence with examples from your class theme)

A rhetorical bibliography of a source accurately describes the context of its publication (who published it, the purpose of this publishing venue and the biases or slants that might be connected to this purpose, and the audience of this publication), the conversations in which the source is engaged, the author(s) and purpose of the source, and its stylistic and genre conventions.


  • You will generate a narrow topic and a research question.
  • There will be two library sessions in support of this project. The first will focus on finding and evaluating internet sources and the second on using the general library databases to find articles and commentaries in newspapers and magazines.
  • Choose a rich variety of sources.
  • Annotate sources that are more than 8 pages in length.
  • Make sure you’ve really understood the article or chapter before you begin your annotation.
  • For your annotation you should: CITE the source correctly, SUMMARIZE in one or two paragraphs the argument and main points of the source, and DESCRIBE in one or two paragraphs the rhetorical situation of the source, especially credibility, audience, purpose, and tone/style/genre.

Grading criteria
These bibliographies will be graded on how well the students describes the source, how substantial the sources are (in length and perspective for a feature article or in breadth or depth of research for a government report); how reliable they are (published by a disinterested, relatively unbiased publisher; vetted in some way; recent); and how closely they relate to the same narrow topic

See grading rubric sheet:
Grading Rubric for Annotated Bibliography

A more formal (typed, written out-of-class) reflection on the research process will accompany this assignment. These reflections will be about the research process. Students might talk about the greatest challenges they faced in the project, what they learned about research, how they found their best sources, what they would do differently if they could do it again, what they will take form this experience to future research assignments, etc.

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