Assignment 2: Journal article plan
Due Friday 18 September 2020
In this assignment, you will prepare a journal article plan. You will not write the article yet. This plan will form the basis of what you will write for Assignment 3. This approach will allow Russell and I to help provide you with substantial feedback and assistance that you can use in your final assessment task. The end goal of this process is that it is designed to help you learn in a logical, staged manner, and greatly enhance your chances of doing well in this unit.
First of all, you must choose one of the following research questions for your journal article:
1. Civilisations do not emerge in a vacuum. So how has contact shaped the world’s cultures?
2. “A good idea”: Did Europe make the world modern? Was this ‘gift’ of modernity ultimately a good thing for the rest of the world?
3. How has the Australian education system, whether deliberately or inadvertently, helped to foster various myths of European cultural superiority?
4. How has film/television/fiction writing reinforced ideas of European cultural superiority in world history? (note: choose one medium i.e. film, television, or fiction writing)
5. What is modern may not be new, and what is new may not be modern. What examples exist in world history and across world cultures that best demonstrate how modernity and development do not take place in a linear fashion?
6. Former Prime Minister John Howard once claimed that there is a “growing retreat from Western civilisation.” Other conservatives have suggested that young people in Australia are “taught to have a hatred of [it]” despite the benefits and advances that it has brought to the world. To what extent do you agree with the assertion that not enough credit has been given to the good things that Western civilisation has introduced?
IMPORTANT: Note that your article in Assignment 3 must draw from at least three of the ‘worlds’ that we cover in the unit, so it is best that you start your planning with this in mind.
Secondly, you should prepare your journal article plan based on your choice. Your journal article plan must include the following:
o An essay plan, in dot point form, that clearly shows the structure of your planned article
o An abstract of 300 words that summarises what your article will be about. See the tips section on how to prepare an abstract
o An annotated bibliography of at least 15 academic sources. Each annotation should be around 75-100 words in length. See the tips section for how to annotate a source
Tips to planning a good journal article (and doing well in this assignment):
1. Making your choice: The research topics for your article are not equal in difficulty. Some are more challenging than others. Choose carefully.
2. Use academic sources: Writing a journal article entails relying on scholarly books and journal articles. These have gone through a process known as peer-review, which means that have been assessed for their factual basis and intellectual integrity by other academics. Even if it is not a full-proof system, it is the best measure of a work’s quality that is out there. An academic journal will expect that your work will rely on academic sources.
Encyclopaedias and learning sites like KhanAcademy.org etc. should be avoided in a journal article. They most definitely do not count to the 15 source minimum for the purposes of this assignment.
3. Periodising: Consider establishing a fixed time period for your analysis. This is called ‘periodising’. Scholars do this all the time – for example, a book or documentary might be titled A modern history of Australia 1945 – 2000. This sets out its scope, and also gives the book a natural structure. If nothing else, it makes life easier for you.
3.1. The safest way to periodise is to choose decades, or key events. For instance, if you’re doing the film question, obviously don’t try to write about all film since the invention of film. Maybe narrow it down to a decade or two. Maybe you want to look at films made in the 1990s. Maybe only Hollywood films, or Australian films.
3.2. You will need to explain why you’ve chosen a particular set of years. For example, if you say “I want to analyse films made between 1983 and 2007”, a reader would be puzzled. Explain why. Maybe there was a particularly important film made in 1983? If you chose the literature review question, maybe a key book was published in 1983? The safest way to periodise is to use decades or obvious markers in world history. 1945 to 2000 is a common period, because it uses two well-known milestones i.e. the end of World War Two, which was a seismic event, and the end of the 20th century.
3.3. Consider focusing on works on the Great Divergence in specific decades. Think about some movies about encounters between Westerners and non-Western cultures – some that come to mind right away are 1990s films like Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves and/or the 2000s films like Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto.
4. Justify: Remember to explain your choices. Why did you choose this time period to focus on? If you chose the film question, then why are these films important? Did they do well in the box office? Receive lots of awards? Flop badly or caused a great deal of controversy? You can include this explanation in the abstract.
5. Writing an abstract: There are some excellent resources out there for undergraduates looking to learn how to write an abstract for a journal article. Two that stand out right away are websites hosted by the undergraduate research centres at Boston University and the University of California at Davis.
6. Annotating a bibliography: While an abstract is a purely descriptive summary found at the beginning of a journal article, an annotated bibliography serves a very different purposes: it is designed to convey the relevance and quality of the source that is cited.
6.1. Learning to annotate a bibliography is an important, portable skill. You will find that report writing in a wide range of industries both in the civil service and in the private sector is very similar, since you will often be called upon to briefly but coherently annotate or comment on specific resource for a supervisor, a committee, or your colleagues. It’s therefore in your interests to develop this skill.
6.2. An annotated bibliography includes both the full citation of the source, as well as your annotation.
6.3. A good annotation summarises the main theme or argument of the book or article, contrasts or compares the work with another that you have cited, and/or explains how this work strengthens or is otherwise useful for your article.
6.4. Again, you’ll find that there are some examples of how to produce a good annotation out there hosted by various universities. Three good sites that I usually recommend students start with include the University of New South Wales, the University of Toronto, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Across these sites you’ll see a range of different ways to annotate, depending on the source in question.