M A I N * L I N K S

SUNY Fredonia
Division of Arts and Humanities
ENGL/INDS 240: Introduction to African American Literature and Culture
Fall 2008
Section 1: MWF 3-3:50, Fenton 174
Office: Fenton 265; MWF 1-2, Th 3-5, and by appointment; 673-3856
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu; brucesimon18@yahoo.com
Web site: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
ANGEL space: https://angel.fredonia.edu/

Group Research Project, Fall 2008

This page takes on four important questions about the Group Research Project: what, what for, how to, and how graded. My goal is to make this page as useful to you as possible, so let me know if it can be improved. If anything is badly worded, unclear, or missing, please contact me with constructive criticisms. Thanks.


The Group Research Project is your chance to get your feet wet as a researcher in African American literature and culture. Your job is to join a team that will do a presentation on one or more readings for a specific class period, help decide what research contribution each team member will make, and present your findings in a brief (around 5 minutes) presentation. No later than a week after the presentation is complete, team members will turn in a paragraph summarizing their research activities and their presentation function/goals, with a bibliography in MLA format of sources consulted and used. And they will post discussion questions to the ANGEL discussion board.

What For

This assignment is meant to give you practice in key research skills that will help improve your Final Research Project, from considering what texts and questions interest you the most to identifying a research topic or inquiry. It's also meant to help you develop your information literacy and skills in research methods, including the use of print and non-print sources. In addition, it also helps you think like a teacher by considering what you can bring from outside the class that will help us appreciate, understand, analyze, and respond to texts in class and afterwards. The overall effect is that students will be exposed to a greater variety of information sources, critical perspectives, and presentation styles than a course without such an assignment--and hopefully find new ways into the readings, new issues to consider, and new possibilities for their discussion board participation, critical essay, and final research project.

How To

Teams should try to meet at least once before seeing me to get feedback on your research and presentation plans. Team members should consider what they can draw on from their own education and interests that can best help them contribute to the team's success.

The next stage is to do the actual research, using journals and books from the library, online databases and indexes, and, when necessary, inter-library loan to get the sources that you will present to the class, along with reliable sources on the world-wide web. The idea here is to be as focused as possible on optimizing your contribution to the presentation: what's the most important idea or piece of information you can find that can change the way your peers approach the reading(s) your team is focusing on.

The next stage is to do the presentation itself. It's up to you which kinds of technology you want to use and how much you want to rely on them. The idea is to use your time efficiently and effectively, to speak clearly and concisely, and to present your idea or information vividly and engagingly.

The final stage is following up with your peers on the ANGEL discussion board (posing discussion questions that follow from your presentation) and with me (informing me of your goals and sources and anything else that wasn't visible from our meetings before the presentation and the presentation itself). See me if you aren't clear on MLA format for bibliographies!

How Graded I will be grading your presentation in terms of the quality of your research, presentation, writing, and contributions to your team's success. This will include how interesting and relevant your research was, how well you orchestrated your oral presentation and tech support (if any), how well you addressed and engaged the audience (including such basics as voice projection and eye contact), how well thought-out and creative your discussion questions were, and how well written and organized your paragraph and bibliography were.

M A I N * L I N K S

ENGL 240: Introduction to African American Literature and Culture, Fall 2008
Created: 11/7/08 1:55 pm
Last modified: 11/18/08 6:15 pm
See http://www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl240s05/ for the Spring 2005 version of this course, www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl240f03/ for the Fall 2003 version, www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/engl240/ for the Spring 2001 version, and www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/en240/ for the Fall 1999 version.