Sample Entries for the Annotated Bibliography

You can find examples of annotated bibliographies on any topic in the world. (I tried googling the words annotated bibliography along with mobile phonesamateur journalism, and buffy the vampire slayer, and I found annotated bibs for them all.) (Yes, this is a valid way to find helpful sources for your project.)

But as I said on the assignment sheet for the annotated bibliography, not everyone writes annotations the same way. So to give an example of what I’m looking for, I’m going to paste in a couple of examples here. Each of them is from a real student, but I tweaked the citations at the beginning to make sure there were no errors.

Sample of a non-scholarly source using APA format

Allabaugh, D. (2013, May 5). Health care lost in translation. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from
This article spends a great deal of time discussing specific events that people needed an interpreter or translator at hospitals or clinics.  This examples prove just how discouraging the frustrating it can be to attempt to take care of people, but fail to do so due to a language barrier.  In rare occasions, hospitals run out of solutions, possibly because a patient speaks a language with a very unique dialect.  In the past, situations like these were never corrected, and although patients still received care, they were not understood due to the language barrier.
However, Skype has made this issue less severe, since it allows medical staff to contact a translator via an online video camera.  The article states, “Interpreters who speak up to 170 different languages, including sign language, are available by Skype 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”  This technology is absolutely remarkable for healthcare workers, because they are able to better understand their patients wants and needs, improving the situation for everyone involved.
This article solely discussed translators and this useful Skype application that is currently available.  The article stated only positives about this technology and did not mention one negative aspect.  This piece was written in an informational manner, attempting to education people about this new software that is now available.
I really liked this article, because I have personally used this Skype software to assist a patient.  I have seen how this software works and as a future nurse, this tool is more than useful for myself and colleagues.  This article was very specific and did not mention too much information about the software’s mechanics or anything of that nature.  This article just discussed that general idea that this type of software is currently available and how effective it can be.  I also like how this article stated that this software can interpret up to 170 different languages, because this factual information is very  helpful when envisioning the effectiveness of this new tool.
The only issues I have with this article is the fact that it was almost too positive and it did not argue anything in particular.  As stated in the summary, this article appeared to be written as an informational piece of writing, designed to educate consumers and businesses about this new up-and-coming device.  The article may have had more substance and strength if it had showcased where Skype needs to improve or some of the faults of this software.

Sample of a scholarly source using MLA format

Phillips, Whitney. “LOLing at Tragedy: Facebook Trolls, Memorial Pages and Resistance to Grief Online.” First Monday 16.12 (2011): n.pag. Web. 15 July 2013.

This paper, written by fourth year Ph.D. student Whitney Phillips, explains different scenarios where Facebook trolling has become a major issue. According to Urban Dictionary, Facebook trolling is “When someone updates their Facebook status, only to get people to comment and “like it.” Phillips opens her paper with a story of Chelsea King, a high school student who went missing one morning. Many Facebook pages and fan pages were made in the hopes to help locate King. These pages soon became memorialized after authorities had discovered that King was raped, murdered, and buried next to a lake in California. A lot of the comments that appeared were common grieving grounds, while other comments that were made were simply rude and inappropriate. Such comments were ultimately removed from the memorial page, as authorities of Facebook do have such a monitoring system. This then lead to other pages being made to mock the Chelsea King’s memorial page. One page in particular, I bet this pickle can get more fans than Chelsea King, was created out of pure mockery and trolling. Even after the news press got involved, the author of the page still seemed unfazed by the situation going public. Phillips goes on in her paper to talk about how other forms of trolling are becoming a huge issue across the Facebook world, and they are most common amongst rest in peace pages.

My thoughts:
I feel like the examples used throughout this paper are well researched and bring Phillip’s points alive. Being able to take all angles into consideration, from the creator of the page, to the fans of the page, to the trolls of the page, to the Facebook mediators of the page, really hits home with how dynamic the whole fan page and memorial page really can be. I feel this paper will help tie to the emotional aspect of my persuasive final project, especially to the members who are emotionally affected by the loss of their loved one or friend. Paulie Socash, a man who monitored his sister’s memorialized Facebook page, looked every day for any harsh comment that would be legitimate enough to ask the Facebook staff to remove the page all together. Phillip ends her paper with a colorfully negative description of how the effects of trolling by stating, “It unearths truths about our relationship to mainstream media. It is simultaneously cruel and amusing and aggressive and playful and real and pretend and hurtful and harmless, as are the trolls themselves.” Not only does she tie the words to the cruel pages and comments themselves, but she also ties them to the Troll who is coming up with these comments. This kind of negativity could help my persuasive point of view by hopefully tying to the emotions of the viewers, because they are real people also.

Sample Audio Essay Post

When you post your audio version of RA1, your post needs to include two things: an embedded audio file from Soundcloud and a written Statement of Goals and Choices, all in the same post. So your post will look something like this:

When I heard that I had to adapt my RA1 into an audio file, at first I thought I would just read the essay out loud. But quickly, I realized that I would need to do much more than that! I realized that one of my goals was to [blah blah blah].

To make those goals a reality, I chose to adapt my essay by X, Y, and Z. [blah blah blah]

Sample RA1: Calming the Crowd: Strategies to Assuage a Hostile Audience

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In a post for the New York Times blog Public Editor’s Journal, Margaret Sullivan discusses a question that she uses for her post’s title: “How Well Has The Times Advanced a Story That It Didn’t Break?” Her answer is essentially “Not bad, but not great”–an answer that seems designed to carefully respond to her rhetorical situation. As becomes clear in her post, Sullivan is responding to the many people who are angry at the way the Times covered the NSA wiretap story. Her whole piece is carefully attenuated to this situation, as she tries to give credence to the complainers without giving in to them completely, like a politician admitting he broke an ethical guideline while insisting that it wasn’t really all that bad. Specifically, she uses the strategies of organization and links to outside authorities to strengthen her ethos and defend her position.

Before I describe the details of these strategies, I’ll briefly explain the situation Sullivan is responding to. As I mentioned, she is clearly assuaging an angry audience. Specifically, the NSA story was first written about in The Guardian and the Washington Post, papers that compete with the Times. From Sullivan’s piece, it seems that some have held that the Times got petulant, like a tantrum-throwing child, and didn’t give the story its due coverage specifically because they felt scooped by the other papers. This is a situation where facts can clearly be discovered: either the Times covered the story or it didn’t, and it either gave it places of importance in its print and digital publications or it didn’t. Therefore Sullivan’s post needs to walk a line more subtle than just “What happened?” Instead, this text needs to answer the more subtle question of, “Did the Times act incorrectly, unfairly, or in an unethically biased way in its decision of how to cover the story?”

Sullivan’s organization is her chief strategy to help her answer this question. She knows that if she comes out and defends the Times right away, her angry opposition will simply be more angry. But she knows that if she gives in right away, she’ll look like she’s giving in to the opposition and ignoring her own employer. So she strategically saves her answer for the end of her piece. At the top of the piece she simply asks questions: “But how well has The Times done in covering or advancing that story since it first appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post? Is The Times holding its own, gaining or losing ground, and how hard is the paper of record pushing, on this extremely important story?” Instead of immediately answering these questions, she then structures her piece with four numbered parts of her answer, allowing her to stretch her answer out in a way that will assuage both sides. It is only in the final paragraph that she finally gives a single sentence with her entire viewpoint clearly stated: “But like many readers, I would like to see a greater and more consistent sense of urgency reflected on The Times’s news pages in dealing with this subject, which has such profound implications for civil liberties, for press freedom, for the privacy of American citizens and for democracy.” In other words, she is unhappy with the lack of “urgency” in the way the story was covered, but she is happy with other parts of the story. She’s having it both ways.

That organizational strategy is also reflected in the way her post builds from point to point. The first of her four points carefully points out multiple examples of what she calls “good analysis” of the story, despite the fact that other papers broke the story. This point rebuts the possible complaints of those who might make broad statements like “The Times has avoided this topic completely!” Clearly, they haven’t–she even provides links. But after establishing this positive note, she knows that some might distrust her if she is too positive about her own paper, so she strategically uses point number two to admit problems. She writes, “Less positively, The Times sometimes has played down the importance of other papers’ reporting on this subject.” Here too she links to a story that she admits was buried on page A12 of the Times. But notice how she only includes one link to an example when pointing out the Times‘s deficiences, while she included five links to examples of things it had done well. The message is clear: even though she admits some guilt on the part of her publication, the balance of good is clearly on her side. Buttressing this point even further, points three and four continue to advance her own side, further strengthening her argument.

It’s worth noting that this use of organization and outside links has the side-effect of making Sullivan look the way she wants to look: fair, willing to take criticism, but also knowledgeable and able to defend herself. It’s a stance that we often say we want in politicians, who we hope will be both strong on their own positions and open to hearing opposing sides. In other words, her use of organization and links affected her ethos positively. They’re all related.

It’s also worth noting that Sullivan’s defense of the Times was designed very carefully for this online space, allowing her to use links to defend herself. In print, her post would simply be less convincing without the ability of readers to see the proof for themselves, right away, by clicking the links. (I found myself not wanting to bother clicking any of the links, yet their presence reassured me. I trusted that she wasn’t lying by linking to false stories.) Her digital medium also allowed her to add an update on the following day, another brief passage at the bottom of the post. It’s mostly a quote about how the Times will work in the future with the Guardian as they continue to cover the case, a move that buttresses Sullivan’s basic claim: that the Times made some mistakes, but they aren’t all that bad. Still, the post noticeably lacks a comment section, a puzzling move that may reflect a desire for the Times to silence conversation about this issue. Perhaps Sullivan’s post is meant to be the “final statement” of the paper, and the lack of comments asks readers to please move on and pay attention to something else now, thank you very much.

In the end, there is much that is both old and new about Sullivan’s post. Rhetors have structured their texts this way for thousands of years, delaying their final claim as a strategy to avoid alienating potentially hostile listeners. But until now, they have never been able to include the ethos-building instant gratification of links to support one’s point of view, or able to signal an end to a conversation simply by turning off the comment feature. Sullivan’s post, then, suggests to me that texts in digital spaces are indeed worthy of study with traditional rhetorical analysis, though we need to keep our eyes open for changing possibilities these spaces afford.

Works Cited

Sullivan, Margaret. “How Well Has the Times Advanced a Story That It Didn’t Break?” New York Times. The New York Times Company, 22 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Aug. 2013.