English 391W: Dreams

April 21, 2010 · No Comments

Guidelines for Annotated Bibliographies

As you read the materials you find through your research, you should be moving toward an epiphany—about exactly how you focus your research project and begin to craft an argument about your topic. Look to your sources—both primary and secondary—to help you do this. As you begin to focus, discard sources you won’t need and begin grappling with patterns, questions, tensions, and debates that emerge from the ones you keep. With all this in mind, construct an annotated bibliography that includes all or most of the following information for each of your sources:

1. The complete bibliographical citation (using MLA Style)
2. An explanation of the content of the source, including its main purpose, argument, and evidence
4. Possible audiences for the source
5. An explanation of what the source contributes to your particular project
6. An evaluation of the source (including both strengths and weaknesses: reliability, bias, clarity, methods, etc.)

Divide your bibliography into two parts and use the guidelines below:

A. Sources you already have and plan to use: List these in alphabetical order, according to MLA style for Works Cited entries. Put the bibliographic information in bold and follow it with a 3 or 4 sentence description.

B. Sources you still need: List types of sources you know you need but haven’t yet been able to find. Put these general descriptions in bold and follow each with an explanation of why you need the source and how you might find it (through the main catalog, particular databases or search engines, a particular type of scholarly journal, on the web site of an certain kind of organization, etc.).

Note: When you’ve received the bibliographies of your group members, look through them and see if you have any ideas for additional sources or for helping them find the sources that they haven’t tracked down yet. Send each of them a note with your suggestions.

Sample annotated bibliography entries:

LaBerge, Stephen. Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. New York: Ballantine Books, 1990.
LaBerge is one of the most prominent lucid dream researchers in the world and faculty at Stanford University, where he conducts his research. His book is a “how to,” written for a popular audience. Though LaBerge is a prominent and respected researcher in the field, the book’s tone is similar to that of a self-help pop psychology text. Some of his ideas verge on the mystical as well, which makes the source interesting in terms of representing the often New Age-y approach that many lucid dreamers take. But the tone, combined with a lack of detailed clinical evidence, makes the book less convincing than LaBerge’s more strictly academic publications. The book is useful for my project, because it will help me describe the “culture” that surrounds lucid dreaming, but it will need to be augmented by more detailed clinical studies, by both LaBerge and others.

Richardson, James. “The Dream of Reading.” The Yale Review 88.4 (October 2000): 80 – 108.
Richardson is a poet writing literary criticism. The essay, like Elaine Scarry’s Dreaming by the Book and much of Bert O.States’s work, makes an analogy between dreaming and reading. Richardson focuses mainly on poetry, but he incorporates quite a bit of discussion of neurobiology, citing Hobson and others. While this extremely graceful essay doesn’t focus on lucid dreaming in any explicit way, I’m interested in figuring out whether Richardson’s analogy holds true with regard to lucid dreams, which involve greater control—or agency—than ordinary dreams. I may even make a chart that lists the qualities Richardson attributes to reading and dreaming and then add my own third category, lucid dreaming, to see where this third category converges and diverges with the other two.

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