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English 102 (ENG 102): English Composition II -Literary Research: Getting Started

Use this guide to begin your literary research. Find primary, secondary, and tertiary sources and get help with citation.


Welcome to the English Composition II libguide! Use this guide to get started on your research into literary research and criticism.

Course Reserves- Comp II

From Your Instructor

For your last major writing assignment (worth 150 pts.), you are required to write a four-page (five with the Works Cited page) research-based analytical essay on one or more poems/stories/plays from Literature: The Human Experience. You must have a minimum of five cited secondary sources which help to interpret the primary text(s).  Also, you are required to use library database sources. General internet sources are not allowed. The assignment requires an analysis of the literary work you’ve selected using sources of criticism which comment directly on the primary source (i.e. the poem, story, or play that you are analyzing).  Thus you are to provide an interpretation of the work which is framed within the larger critical commentary available, perhaps acknowledging which sources are in agreement with your point of view and which may differ, citing both the primary source(s) and the secondary sources—the articles and such—where appropriate. You may structure your analysis using one of the modes we have learned already in the course (pattern analysis, comparison and contrast, etc.), but this is not required.  Your essay will be graded on how well your own interpretation of the text(s) is integrated with or informed by your secondary sources...using quotes and paraphrases (from both primary and secondary sources) to illuminate the ideas, themes, or meaning of said text(s). The previously established rules regarding font and formatting still apply, and both in-text citations as well as the Works Cited page must follow the guidelines provided in your MLA Handbook.

Bad Criticism

Bad criticism lacks universal appeal. In this video, The Onion Film Standard's Peter Rosenthal makes it all about him. How does this help us understand the work being critiqued? How does this provide us anything useful for deeper connection with the artform? Short answer: It doesn't. For this assignment, you want to find good criticism. What does that look like? Check out the tabs above.