Copy of this entire project (pdf) I created this unit for one of Library courses but several people asked me to share my process of using Google Forms as “digital notecards” – See Lesson #2.
High School Literary Criticism Research Paper
Throughout the semester in English III, students have been reading and analyzing various literary novels and writing their own essays with supporting quotes and documentation from the novel. In this research project, students choose an acclaimed American novel or play, read it and then use published literary criticism to help support their thesis statement about the novel.
- Authentic research involves an ethical and legal use of information and information technology.
- While the purpose of research is to consider the ideas of others, the researcher should use these to support, not replace one’s own.
- With today’s influx of information, we need to be savvy, critical users of information, paying attention to source, bias, and responsible research.
- Utilizing the research process allows for a more authentic presentation.
- Utilizing the writing process allows for thoughtful clarification of ideas.
Teacher’s objectives and goals
- How can I use the ideas of others in order to support my own?
- What is more important: product or process?
- Whose ideas are these? What bias do they hold?
- When is a piece of writing finished?
- Students will choose an American novel or play from an approved list to read and annotate.
- Students will create an Annotated Bibliography to practice summarizing main ideas from literary criticism and evaluating a source’s effectiveness for research project.
- Students will create an outline as the “blueprint” for their research paper. This is a sentence outline which will dictate how the paper is organized (but it does not include quotations from work or research).
- The students will write a research paper centered on an American work (novel or play) of their choice. This 5-7 page paper will be supported with at least five outside sources and written in MLA format.
- Perform research focused on a theme or character development in a novel.
- Annotate a novel following a theme or character development.
- Analyze secondary sources and incorporate these thoughts and ideas into the paper.
- Determine when to summarize or paraphrase research instead of using a direct quote.
Library teacher’s objectives and goals
- How do I locate relevant resources about my novel or author?
- How can I show that my sources are quoted, summarized or paraphrased?
- How can technology tools be used to help me sort and organize my research?
- Students will be able to access quality print, electronic and web resources about literary criticism related to their novel and author.
- Students will be able to evaluate these materials for usefulness and select resources that support their thesis statement.
- Students will be able to cite the resources used in correct MLA format.
- Students will use “digital notecards” (Google form/spreadsheet) to document sources, quotes, and summaries from print, electronic and web resources.
LMS/Teacher Unit Overview using Big 6 Model
|BIG 6 MODEL||Students / Classroom Teacher||Librarian|
|JAN||Students select an acclaimed American novel or play and begin reading||Librarian assists students in locating novel or play|
|Student annotate novel looking for themes, POV, conflict, symbols, character growth/importance/function or complexityStudents write a summary of novel to check for understandingTeacher reviews the concept of literary criticism. Students complete quotation search and commentary assignment.|
|Information Seeking Strategies:
Evaluate resources for accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs and importance.Location & Access:
Literary Criticism books
|Students come to library to locate resources||Lesson #1: Librarian introduces search strategies for locating and evaluating print, electronic and web resources.|
|February – wk. 1||Use of Information:
|Students locate 3-5 sources and create an Annotated Bibliography in a Google document which is shared with classroom teacher.Students write the first draft of their thesis statement.||Librarian teaches students how to access their Google Apps accounts, plus document and sharing basics|
|Students come to Library computer lab to set up their forms and practice taking notes from their novel/play.||Lesson #2: Librarian instructs students in how to access the Google templates to use a form for “digital notecards”.|
|wk3-4||Students use form to create 50 entries from their novel, literary criticism, reference and web sources.||Librarian checks with students on progress and needs for additional sources|
|Students organize their notes and create an outline of ideas to support their thesis statement.|
|Students type a first draft of their paper in Google document and share with classroom teacher|
|wk7||Citations||Students finalize their Works Cited page for all of their sources||Librarian assists students in creation of Works Cited following MLA format.|
|Students edit rough draft with revisions and type final paper.|
Self- evaluation rubric
|Student self-evaluationTeacher evaluation|
Lesson #1: Locating and evaluating sources for Literary Criticism
Students will gather literary criticism from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and complete an annotated bibliography.
You have read your novel and annotated various sections of your book while looking for: themes, point of view, conflict, symbols, character growth/importance/function or complexity. Question to ask: How can I use the literary criticism of others to support my own views and opinions of this novel?
Input (from Classroom Teacher):
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
- A bibliography is a list of sources
- An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation of a source.
- An Annotated Bibliography is a typed document which contains bibliographic entries followed by a summary and evaluation of the source.
Why are we doing this?
- Writing an annotated bibliography will allow you an early look at what the critics say about your novel.
- It will also allow you to practice making MLA citations which will be required in your paper.
- Writing an annotated bibliography demands that you paraphrase and summarize literary criticism. These are skills you will need to use for this assignment as well as others in your academic career.
Modeling (done by Librarian):
- Literary criticism books in our school library. Search the OPAC for your author’s last name. Ignore results that are fiction, instead focus on Dewey numbers 813.009. Locate the print title on the shelves and check to see if the book is about your novel. Some books contain several essays about a novel from various authors and each of these essays can be used as a separate source.
- Reference books in our Library: Frank Magill’s Masterplots, American Novelists, Contemporary Authors, Gale’s Contemporary Literary Criticism, etc., – check reference section.
- Literature Resource Center from Gale. Access this database from Library webpage (you will need password) and search by your author’s last name. Look for articles marked literary criticism; avoid book reviews
- Literature database from ProQuest. Access this database from Library webpage (you will need password) and search by your author’s last name. Look for articles marked literary criticism; avoid book reviews
- The Internet Public Library (IPL) Guide to Literary Criticism: http://www.ipl.org/div/litcrit/
- Gale Literary Index – A master index to every literary series published by Gale (such as Contemporary Literary Criticism, Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, etc.). Search by author, title or nationality. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitIndex
- Check to make sure the source is relevant and accurate: Is the source literary criticism or just a book review? Does this essay contain information about your novel; not just other works by the same author. This is especially important when evaluating sources from the databases.
- Check the authority: Who is writing the essay? What are their qualifications to review the novel?
- Check the bias: These essays will give the author’s opinion about the novel. Try to find sources from various points of view.
Check for Understanding:
- During the review of the various sources, students will indicate on a notecard which sources they are going to check first. Review with a partner how to locate that source and what they are going to do when they locate it. Share some of these ideas with the class.
- Students will then look for print and digital materials in the school library. Students will photocopy pages from print sources as well as the page that contains the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.
- Once a source has been located, the students will skim and read through the material. They should try to get an overall understanding of what the source is saying and make sure it contains information that support, compliments or gives new ideas for their thesis statement, for example: Does the source address some of the ideas you have considered for your paper? Does the article suggest something about your novel you may not have considered? Students should also look at the authority of the source and check for bias.
- For the annotated bibliography, students will need to select three sources. Students should type out the correct MLA citation for the first source (use MLA handout or www.easybib.com for reference). Write a summary that paraphrases the points in the literary criticism. Write the summary in your own words and place it below the citation.
- Check with a partner or the teacher that you have completed the first citation and summary correctly before moving onto the next step.
- Students should complete the above process for each source. The annotated bibliography should include at least one print and one electronic source. Use the MLA handout (linked on Library website) to review formatting of MLA citations. The annotated bibliography should contain at least 3 sources but it can contain more. You may not end up using all of these sources in your actual essay.
|Objective||Exceeds Expectations||Meets Expectations||Needs Improvement|
|Locate print resource from school library||Student is able to locate multiple literary criticism print sources independently using Library OPAC.||Student is able to locate literary criticism print source(s) with assistance.||Student does not locate literary criticism print source from school library or only uses electronic sources.|
|Locate sources from electronic database or website||Student is able to locate multiple literary criticism sources independently from Gale or ProQuest database.||Student is able to locate literary criticism source from Gale or ProQuest database with assistance.||Student does not locate literary criticism database or web sources.|
|Source Evaluation||Student chooses a wide variety of sources to support their thesis statement and is relevant, accurate and has appropriate authority. They may have chosen materials from varied points of view or from advanced scholarly material.||Students choose sources to support their thesis statement that is relevant, accurate and has appropriate authority.||Students choose sources that do not support their thesis statement or choose irrelevant or inaccurate material.|
|Annotated Bibliography||Contains 3+ proper MLA citations. Contains detailed summaries of each source that demonstrates a strong understanding of the material.||Contains three proper MLA citations. Contains appropriate summary of each source.||Contains missing or improper MLA citation. Contains missing or summaries that are too vague, does not demonstrate understanding of material or is copied directly from source.|
Lesson #2: Using technology tools to create “digital notecards”
Students will access an electronic form/spreadsheet to take notes from their literary criticism sources (novel, literary criticism essays, reference material, electronic databases, websites, etc.) to support their thesis statement.
Ask yourself this question: How can I use the ideas of others in order to support my own ideas? You have already located resources for your essay and have written a summary of the material with your Annotated Bibliography. Now it is time to carefully read the material and locate quotes, ideas or themes that will support your thesis statement.
Google Apps for Education
- Each student has a unique Google Apps for Education account that gives them access to an online word processing and a forms/spreadsheet program.
- The teacher can create a template that students can access for the digital notecards form.
- The Google form allows you to quickly take notes from each source. The form includes information such as: Source title, author, type of source (novel, literary criticism, reference, database, website, other, etc.), topic, subtopic, quote, summary and notes for the teacher (optional). See sample.
- The information entered into a Google form automatically fills an adjoining spreadsheet. The data in the spreadsheet can be sorted by any category (topic, source) which will make the process of organizing and synthesizing the research material much easier.
- Google spreadsheets can be shared with the classroom teacher so they have access at any point during the research process. The teacher can open the spreadsheet and write notes or give advice to individual students.
- The use of the Google form and spreadsheet allows the student to access the same document from any computer, anytime. This means the student can work on their research from school or home and do not have to worry about emailing drafts back and forth or remembering to save the data on a flash drive or losing 3×5 index cards. Students access their Google Apps accounts online at: http://www.google.com/a/lshigh.org.
- The Librarian should model for the students how to use a Google form to take notes from the novel and from a literary criticism source. The purpose of this quick review is to help students get an overall understanding of how to use a form, why we are using a Google form and spreadsheet instead of paper notecards and how we are going to be able to sort the data afterwards.
- Have the students explain to the Librarian how to fill out the sample form using a previously read literature novel. Repeat the process from a literary criticism source.
Accessing the Google form template:
- The librarian should walk the students through this process step-by-step to avoid confusion on how to create and use the Google form.
- Log into your Google Apps account at http://www.google.com/a/lshigh.org
- Go to Create New / from Template. Browse the list of La Salle Prep’s templates and select: Digital Notecards for Research Paper.
- Important Note: The template opens in Edit view. The only thing you do at this point is change the title of your form to include your name. Select SAVE. Select the link at the bottom of the form to access the “live form”. This will open up a new tab in your browser with the actual form. It’s OK at this point to close the “edit view” and template gallery browser tabs.
- You will now fill out the form for your first notecard. Locate the title from your source and type it into the form. Next add the author and indicate with a check mark whether this source is from a: your novel, literary criticism, reference, database, website, or other (you fill in the blank).
- Determine a topic from the source. You may also want to choose a subtopic. (Hint: Relate the topics to your thesis statement, if possible. The topic might be character’s name; subtopic might be a characteristic of that person).
- In the Quote section, type the exact quote from the source and use quotation marks. Indicate a page number if it is a print source.
- In the Summary/Notes section, write a brief explanation of how you are planning on using this source in your essay.
- The “questions for the teacher” section is optional.
- Choose SUBMIT when you are done with the first notecard. You will see a response after submitting indicating that the notecard has been added to the spreadsheet.
Check for Understanding:
- Have the students close the form and open the adjoining Google spreadsheet to make sure the first notecard was recorded properly.
- Students should change the name on the spreadsheet to include their name and class period. They should select the SHARE button in the top right hand section of the spreadsheet and type the teacher’s Google docs email sharing address in the sharing section, such as: firstname.lastname@example.org. Select SAVE. Now the teacher will have access to the spreadsheet.
- Important Note: When the student is ready to access the form again they do it from the spreadsheet! With the spreadsheet open, go to Form / Live Form to open the form so you can add additional notecards. Each time the form is filled out and submitted, a new entry is added to the spreadsheet. It is critical that the students access the form this way – do not go back to the template gallery and create a new form or you will have duplicate spreadsheets.
- The teacher or librarian should check to make sure that the student is filling out the form and spreadsheet properly before moving onto Independent Practice.
- SAMPLE FORM https://docs.google.com/a/lshigh.org/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG5JLWtyY0Jia2dObW1SWElpS1ZUOGc6MA#gid=0
- Students should complete about 50 notecards for their essay. About half of the quotes should be from their novel and half from their criticism sources.
- Note: Some students might find it easier to type their notes directly into the spreadsheet instead of using the form. Either method is fine.
|Objective||Exceeds Expectations||Meets Expectations||Needs Improvement|
|Create Google form from template||Student is able to create the Google form from the template independently.||Student is able to create the Google form from the template with assistance.||Student does not create form correctly, or makes duplicate forms from template.|
|Quality of notecards||Notecards have all required information plus detailed explanations of how the quotes will be used in the essay.||Notecards have all required information.||Notecards are missing important information, summaries are of poor quality, or have not indicated appropriate source or type.|
|Spreadsheet with notes||50+ notecards are added to the adjoining spreadsheet and the student has sorted the spreadsheet according to source or topic. Spreadsheet is shared with teacher.||50 notecards are added to the adjoining spreadsheet. Spreadsheet is shared with teacher.||Less than 50 notecards are added to the adjoining spreadsheet, or there are multiple spreadsheets with a few notecards on each one. Spreadsheet is NOT shared with teacher.|