An annotated essay is a written piece of text that examines several related texts.  You know what an essay is--a coherent, unified, focused, developed and organized piece of writing.  The difference is your subject will be three to four related texts that you have read and will now explain, summarize and comment upon in your essay.  The citations for those texts you've read will appear in your essay as well as in a separate bibliography page.  I have provided a sample of my own work for you above (Sample Essay).  You can also look at another sample on the web at

Choosing Texts

First, you need to choose a subject in Sociolinguistics that you'd like to know more about.  Read through the chapter titles and subtitles, the "further reading" sections at the end of the chapters or leaf through the reference and index sections of the textbooks for ideas.  Once you have an idea, you need to find texts.  I recommend sticking to journal articles rather than books for the obvious time constraints, but do consider chapters from books.

You are required to use reputable, scholarly articles for this, so an article out of Time will not suffice.  To find such material, try First Search.  Go to I will give you the authorization code and password in class.  Once in, try searching in ArticleFirst or WorldCat--my two favorites.  If the material you want is in our library, it will tell you.  If not, you can order it through Interlibrary Loan, a process that usually takes about a week.  You can do this by going to the library homepage and clicking on Document Delivery--just fill in the correct form and they'll do the rest.  Any material you use should be up-to-date and from a scholarly source.

The Essay

A large part of your essay is summary, but how you present those summaries is crucial.  As in any good essay, there must be an introduction, a thesis, logical transitions and all the rest--focus, development, organization, voice, a conclusion.  You may follow either APA or MLA guidelines (the sample is done in MLA minus the heading, which you will have).  Linguistics uses APA.  (You can find help for MLA and APA at Purdue's On-Line Writing Lab)

Notice in the sample how the introduction let's the reader know why I am looking at this subject and exactly what that subject is.  I go on to introduce my first work and show how it is relevant to my discussion.  There are transitions between works--you can see that there is a flow to the paper and that one point leads to the next.  At the end, there is a summary of the main points.  In fact, this essay really makes an argument in favor of collaborative methods over competitive ones, which can clearly be seen by the texts I chose to use.  There is also a complete bibliography.

Your essay should be 6-8 pages (the sample is 15 pages in Word) plus a bibliography page.  It is due by the end of exam period at 1:00 on Tuesday, December 10.  If you contact me by noon on Monday, December 9, we can make arrangements for an extended deadline if needed.