Thursday, February 19, 2015

Help! I've got a Bad Bibliography!

Later today I'm going to address an upper-level government class. The professor has asked me to discuss with them the process of creating the bibliography for their Big Paper. I thought I'd try an Active Learning approach to this, so I am going to present the class with my Bad Bibliography, and let them tear it to pieces. I made up this list with the intention of doing it wrong, and obviously wrong, to serve as illustration for what I will show them later about how to do it right. 

Books are still critical to good scholarship

The professor wants a minimum of five sources, simple not annotated, APA formatting, a mix of print and online, and no Wikipedia.  That doesn't sound too hard to do, does it?

Bad Bibliography!

Topic: Political terrorism in Europe as a means of influencing national policy.

Thesis: Terrorist groups use bombs and random shootings to force European governments to adopt more Marxist legislation.

1. “Terrorism”
2. Di Paola, P. (2007). The spies who came in from the heat: The international surveillance of the anarchists in london. European History Quarterly, 37(2), 189-215.
3. Bingley, R. (2004). Terrorism. Chicago, Ill: Raintree.
4. Payne, R. (1950). Zero: The story of terrorism. New York: J. Day Co.
5. Wilkinson, Paul. Terrorism. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2012. Internet resource.
6. Ferguson, N. (2001). 2011: Ten years from now, historians will look back and see the events of sept. 11 as mere ripples in a tidal wave of terrorism and political fragmentation The New York Times Company.
7. Be prepared!: This is your family resource providing information necessary to get you ready for a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incident. (2003). Aldermaston, Reading, Berks: Synigence plc.
8. The USA Patriot Act: A Century Foundation guide to the issues. (2004). New York: Century Foundation Press.

Good reader can you see what's wrong with this assemblage of sources?  Leave your criticisms in the comments section below. What do you think of my thesis? (Hint: it's not that good either)

After the class is over, I will follow up with how things went in class, and some places online where you can get help with compiling a Good Bibliography.
Part Two is now posted.

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