Hacking Rhetoric

Annotated bibliography


Compose an annotated bibliography of 8 articles that relate to a single aspect of hacking you’d like to explore this semester. A minimum of 6 (or 75% if you’re adding extra articles) of the articles should be clearly persuasive (they should state a position and advance an argument in its favour); however, you may include up to 2 (25%)  informative articles (which simply report facts).


Wednesday, October 2- FINAL

Monday, Sept 30 – come to class with a copy of the first half of your assignment (4 articles + annotations)

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography has two key elements:

1. It is a list of citations for books, articles and other resources.

2. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, or annotation, designed to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy and quality of the resource. (Approx 150-200 words.)

Your annotations should offer a short, clear summary of the author’s main point (as in your summaries 1 & 2, but shorter), then include a sentence or two which evaluate the article — this might include:

  • Evaluating the author’s background, expertise or authority in relation to the topic.
  • Commenting on the intended audience.
  • Connect the text to another you’ve cited (compare and contrast, or indicate a relationship between two texts–one might be a response, for example).
  • Discuss how the work relates to your selected topic <- IMPORTANT

Here’s one I prepared earlier …

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor Books, 1995. Print.

Lamott’s book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott’s book are wry and anecdotal, and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one’s own internal critic. In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun.

Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one’s own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.

Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students’ own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott’s style both engaging and enjoyable.

(Adapted from Purdue OWL.)

Skills & Relevance:

This assignment asks you to employ three key skills: informed research (finding useful resources), concise writing and succinct analysis.

The research and analysis you do in this assignment is designed to help you build a base of knowledge for further explorations on a particular aspect of hacking. These short annotations are very similar to what you’d write in a literature review for a longer paper or lab report–the key difference is that you’re not asked to string them together fluidly, but instead to bracket them off under their citations.

Yes, you can adapt the summaries you’ve already prepared for your earlier assignments if you’re discussing the same aspect of hacking.