Each person researches the same topic using a different resource (must be a serious source: e.g., a book, NOVA show on video, etc. – not website, Wikipedia page, or children’s book!) and then shares what they found with their group to build a community resource of knowledge. As a group you should start by choosing what resources you will use and determining reasonable and equitable assignments (about 200-250 pages). For a long biography, for example, it may be appropriate for one person to take the first half and another to take the second half. Or it may be that only certain chapters of a book are relevant.
Each person turns in a separate document consisting of the “index card notes” they took on their resource. In particular focus on the questions asked in part B, keeping in mind that your group will be focusing on these components in the second part of the project. Your notes must have contributions to each of these areas. When you find an idea that will be useful to record, note the page number (or for a video, the time) and give a summary of the idea in your own words (distill a paragraph or page on the idea into a sentence or two of your own). If there is a brief beautiful quotation (you would only have a few), you can include that, too, being sure to enclose it in quotation marks to mark it as a direct quotation and not your own phrasing of the idea. (Note: If your report contains nothing more than what could be found on Wikipedia or similar sites, it will not be accepted.) This document should be 3 full pages (single spaced within each item, with a single blank line between items, 1” margins, 11-12 point standard font). On the top, list your source (e.g., title, author, year for a book; for another type of source, there must be enough information that it could be easily found by the reader) and how you accessed it.
It is important that you put the ideas from the book in your own words. If you can distill the ideas into your own words, then you show some understanding of it; if you only give direct quotations, then you are just pulling quotations, not ideas; if you give direct quotations without marking them as direct quotations, you are plagiarizing (see the Academic Integrity policy in the syllabus). Taking a direct quotation and just changing a few words is not putting the information in your own words and will be considered plagiarism.
Be sure to record the meaning of the information you have collected. For example, if you record “Scientist X and scientist Y had a feud”, this is useless information. What was the feud about? What positions did they take and why? Similarly, do not record anything that you don’t understand what it means – or better, figure out what it means and then record your understanding (in your own words). Part A is graded based on your selection of what to record (is it important, relevant?) and how well you record it in a way that will be useful to your group members (is there meaning to it or is it just a fact with no context or explanation?).
“My Brief History” by Stephen Hawking.
“Black Holes and Baby Universes” by Stephen Hawking.