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Dialogical Essay: Home

English 1000

Assignment Details

For this assignment, you will write a dialogue addressing a disputed or disputable element of a current matter of public controversy. There should be three characters in your dialogue. Each should be an expert who has strong and unique opinions about a single topic. Each should have written a lot about the topic and have had work published in credible journals, magazines, books, and newspapers. All sources you use should be reputable and/or “refereed.” (Note: sources that end in “.com” will earn you a stern look from the teacher.) You are to read as much of these experts’ works as possible and create an annotated bibliography that includes at least three sources per expert. Your citations should follow MLA format.


Choosing a Topic

If you need to browse current items of public controversy to get ideas, try the CQ Researcher database. Each weekly issue focuses entirely on a single current controversy, and the bibliography section at the back of each issue can help you identify potential experts to use in your dialogue. This source is available in full-text through the library website.

Checking for Experts' Publications

Your instructor has specified that the experts you choose must have written a good deal on the topic, and had work published in reputable sources. Reputable sources can be scholarly, such as those which are "peer reviewed" or "refereed." Trade publications are often considered reputable but not always scholarly. Popular publications can be reputable (such as the Wall Street Journal) but not refereed. If you have trouble understanding the difference between publication types, check with your instructor or consult our page titled Distinguishing Between Scholarly and Popular Publications.

  • Check for experts' books owned by MU in the MU MERLIN catalog
  • Check for experts' books owned by other Missouri libraries in the MOBIUS catalog
  • Check for experts' articles in our Databases
    • The database Academic Search Premier has good coverage of current events. Its interface includes a checkbox which allows you to limit to scholarly sources.
    • The database LexisNexis Congressional provides full text of experts' testimony in congressional hearings. Hearings also provide word-for-word transcripts of the dialogue, or question & answer session that follows each witness' statement.

      Here is how to use the LexisNexis Congressionaldatabase to find experts:
      • Once inside the database, click on the "Advanced Search" tab.
      • Unclick all checkboxes except "Hearings."
      • Change the data range to what you want it to be.
      • In the search box, type your keywords separated by ANDs. If you do not use the AND, your search keywords will be considered a phrase. See the example below.
      • The search shown in the example below will bring up dozens of hits. One example is a September 2006 hearing titled Internet and the College Campus: How the Entertainment Industry and Higher Education Are Working To Combat Illegal Piracy.Bringing up the full text will show statements of all the experts who were brought in to testify. One of the experts in this hearing was Cary L. Sherman, President of the Recording Industry Association of America.
  • Once you have a few experts identified, go back and check Academic Search Premier for articles. In this example, you'll find the Cary L. Sherman wrote an article on music piracy in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Checking for his name as an author in the MOBIUS book catalog, you will find he co-authored a book titled Consumer Software Protection Law.

Citing your Sources

If you use articles you obtained in full-text version directly from a library database, the citation protocol will be different than if you had found the article in paper copy in the library.


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