Introduction to Research in Literature
Litt 2123-003
Spring 2006
T Th 2:30-4:20

Tom Kinsella
Office: J-230
Office Hours: T TH 10:45 to 12:00; and by appointment. I'm on campus most days.
652-4419 ––

This is a W2 Writing Intensive Course
This is a course for Literature Majors

Required Books

Fielding, Henry. Joseph Andrews with Shamela. WW. Norton & Co. ISBN: 0-39-39555-9

Fielding, Henry. The Historical Register for the Year 1736. Handout

Murfin & Ray. Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Bedford/St. Martins. ISBN: 0-312-25910-7

Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers. Bedford/St. Martins. ISBN: 0-312-40685-1

LittResearch Weblog. Lots of useful information here


Expectations and Policies
Much of the work of this course will take place outside the classroom. There will be days when class ends early in order to pursue research; there will be research days when class does not meet. Attendance, therefore, is mandatory. More than 3 absences and your grade will drop one mark; more than 5 and it will drop two marks; more than 7 and you will not pass.

Understand that computer assignments cannot be done at the last moment. I intend to rigorously enforce the due dates in this syllabus. You will need to plan accordingly. If you need extra help, ask for it. E-mail is an excellent way to contact me.

All writing should be error-free. You are expected to proofread for typographical, spelling, mechanical, and grammatical errors. On the Historical Register hypertext project, the Fielding essay, PowerPoint presentation, and all other assignments, I will mark down substantially for mechanical and grammatical errors. Proofread and revise vigorously.

It is not my responsibility to make sure that you have handed in all assignments; it is yours.

Academic Honesty
The Literature program expects all work you turn in to be your own. If you are found to have represented the work or ideas of others as your own, intentionally, or unintentionally, you will face serious consequences, as follows:

1. Any student who is found to have plagiarized a paper or assignment, in full or in part, must meet with the professor of the class for which the paper is written.

2. The professor will review the suspect work with the student.

3. If this is the first time the student has been found to have plagiarized, he/she will receive an "F" for that paper or assignment and/or the course.

4. For second offenses of plagiarism, the student will receive an F for the course.

Additionally, in accordance with Stockton College policy, literature faculty will report all instances of plagiarism to the Provost of Academic Affairs. Students may be subject to discipline by the college, such as being placed on academic probation or expelled. If you have any questions about plagiarism, I will be glad to discuss them with you.

Email is the best way to contact me. Please remember to provide a coherent subject line. Also, remember to include your name in the text of the email.


17 Introduction to the course. Library research; Literature Resources assignment handed out.

19 Introduction to resources & research strategies; overview of Cornell's Library Tutorials and Skill Guides; Library research.

24 First individual research questions handed out; Literature Resources in Paper due; source work and/or library research.

26 OED Word Sketch Assignment handed out; general introduction to a research essay in literature.

31 First reading and discussion of The Historical Register for the Year 1736.


2 Annotated bibliographies discussed. Introduction to Henry Fielding and the criticism of his works. Single annotation assignment handed out; Evaluating research materials.

7 OED Word Sketch Assignment due on WebCaucus; norming.

9 Recognizing scholarship assignment handed out; second discussion of the Historical Register.

14 CLASS MEETS IN CC-103; Introduction to the Historical Register hypertext project. First individual research questions due.

16 Revised OED Word Assignment due on Old Words Weblog; More on the Historical Register hypertext project.

21 Crediting Your Sources (Call number: VH LB CYS; 29 mins.); Single Annotation Assignment due on LittResearch Weblog; mechanics.

23 More on Historical Register hypertext project; Finding information on the internet; evaluating resources.

28 Recognizing Scholarship assignment due; Writing footnotes; Mechanics Instruction.


2 Mechanics

7 First test on mechanics.

9 Introduction to research essay on the literary efforts of Henry Fielding. Assignment for essay with annotated bibliography handed out.

March 13-17 Spring Break

21 Fielding; other sources; mechanics.

23 CLASS MEETS IN D-027; Hypertext annotations due; Second individual research questions handed out for PowerPoint presentation; PowerPoint lesson.

28 (Preceptorial Advising - No Classes.)

30 No Class.


4 Discussion of Joseph Andrews; more on PowerPoint lesson; mechanics.

5 Preceptorial Advising.

6 More on Joseph Andrews; mechanics.

11 Writing and Mechanics workshop; more discussion of Fielding.

13 Second Test on Mechanics.

18 Completed hypertext project due; Powerpoint Presentations.

20 Powerpoint Presentations.

25 Powerpoint Presentations.

27 Powerpoint Presentations.


2 research essay and completed annotated bibliography due; final class postmortem. (Spring Term ends May 3.)

Literature Resources 5%
First individual research assignment 15%
OED Word Assignment 5%
Recognizing scholarship assignment 10%
First Test on Writing Mechanics 10%
Second Test on Writing Mechanics 5% [If 10 points higher than 1st, the 2nd test becomes worth the full 15%]
Historical Register for the Year 1736 Hypertext project 15%
Second individual research assignment /PowerPoint presentation 10%
Fielding research, bibliography & essay 25%

Major Assignments:

First Individual Research Questions Assignment. Each student will receive approximately 10 research questions in this very important assignment. Students are expected to spend extensive time in Stockton's library -- many hours -- tracking down answers. Most of the questions cannot be adequately researched using the web. If students do find answers using the web, they are required to verify the answer using the resources of the Stockton library. Students will submit answers and a thoughtful description of their research process in a well-written format. Students frequently ask whether this research can be completed at local town libraries. The short answer is no. Other college libraries will provide many of these answers, but most local libraries do not have the reference sources or academic focus needed to complete research of this sort.

OED Word Assignment. Each student will receive a set of words associated with eighteenth-century usage, research the words using the OED, and write "word stories" to be posted on WebCaucus. After a norming session, students will revise their "word stories" and post them to a class weblog.

Recognizing Scholarship Assignment. Students will receive a packet containing portions of several scholarly works. You will be asked to analyze the articles and describe which seem most dependable; which least dependable; and why. Your findings will be presented in a well-written 2 to 3 page essay.

The Single annotation assignment is completed in preparation for the Fielding Essay. Students will be asked to locate a specific article on Fielding, his work, or times, and to place helpful annotations of each article on WebCaucus. This assignment must be completed in order for the Final essay to receive a grade.

The Historical Register Hypertext Project. Each student is responsible for researching, annotating, formatting, or editing portions of Henry Fielding's Historical Register. In order for this project to succeed we must work effectively and intelligently within groups. Your results will be posted on-line as part of a class web site. Here are projects from previous semesters

PowerPoint Assignment. Students will be assigned a major work by a significant author to research. You will create a brief biography of the author and bibliography of his/her primary works, providing relevant information about the publication history of the specific text (ie. Date/place of first publication, and any special acclaim or controversy). You will also find 6 scholarly articles about the text, create an MLA style bibliography, and provide a summary of three of the articles you found most useful or interesting. Your individual presentations should take 8-10 minutes.

The Final Essay. Students will write an approximately 8-page research essay, including bibliography with at least 15 appropriate scholarly sources. The essay itself must incorporate the work of at least five scholarly sources. This is the culmination of the course; it should be a work of substance.

Some Thoughts on Research

Successful literary research depends on your ability to ask questions-questions about literary genres, individual interpretations, culture, history, literary theories and much more. You must be able to ask these questions without my prompting or the prompting of some other professor. You need to develop strategies for accessing information stored in a range of formats, some traditional and some untraditional. I will provide sample questions and strategies, but in the end you must create your own.

In order to sharpen your research skills, approach this course as though it were a complex research assignment. Push yourself to examine the ideas and skills presented; interrogate the assignments, the texts, and the instruction I provide.

Ask the following questions, among others of your own formulation.

This section has been adapted, with permission, from Robert Scholes, Nancy R. Comley, and Gregory L. Ulmer, Text Book, St. Martin's, 1995.

Good luck with all this. Let's have a productive semester.

Tom Kinsella