Poking and Prying with a Purpose

Sample Entries on the Annotated Bibliography

Halpern, John A. 2004. “Hallucinogens and dissociative agents naturally growing in the United States.” Pharmacology & therapeutics 102 (2): 131–38. Web.

The author, an assistant professor of Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, describes a series of Hallucinogens and dissociative agents found in plants and fungi—whether native or cultivated in gardens. The purpose of the article is to provide readers with a general overview of the geographical range, drug content, preparation, intoxication, and the special health risks associated with some of these plants. Although there is some discussion of the use of mescaline-containing cacti, psilocybin/psilocin-containing mushrooms, and the Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina mushrooms that contain muscimol and ibotenic acid, there is not enough information on what I am hoping to find: the religious use of these plants by indigenous peoples. The article includes a very useful bibliography, however, with three books on the subject I am researching.

Richet, Paul. A Natural History of Time. Trans. John Venerella. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2007. Print.

This book by the geophysicist Paul Richet was originally published as L’âge du monde: À la découverte de l’immensité de temps in 1999. Richet traces how the study of nature has shaped human perceptions of time and durations of time—from the cyclical mythological traditions through the linear history in Judaism to the dramatic changes in the eighteenth century ushered in my revolutions in the natural and physical sciences. The final three chapters will be useful for me as I plan to recount the story of how physics (in particular, the study of the cathode rays and X-rays, and later radiometric dating) impacted the history of how the scale of time expanded in such a way that even science had trouble defining.

Writing the narrative that describes how the sources you are reading have confirmed or challenged your thinking.

Each of the two written research installments has two parts: 1) a narrative summary of what you have read and how that reading has furthered your thinking and writing and 2) an annotated works cited page (in a sentence or two, summarize the argument or purpose of each piece of writing) with at least five entries organized by author’s last name, just as you would a bibliography or works cited page.

Be specific about what you have learned and consider how what you have learned is expanding (or changing) what you set out to understand. Remember that what you are learning is most likely moving you from a more simple to a more complex understanding of your subject. Include a general idea of where you think you’re headed. Has your project expanded? Are you narrowing your focus? Is your research changing where you thought you might be going in your investigation?

If you are doing sufficient research, the second installment will demonstrate substantial progress—both in your ability to talk about your writing project and in the relevance and quality of your sources.