English 6601 Methods of Research, Fall 2020

TR 2:00-3:15 p.m., Online




Dr. Alex E. Blazer


Office Hours: TR 12:30-1:45 p.m. and 5:00-5:30 p.m. by appointment


Course Description


The graduate catalog describes ENGL 6601 as "A survey of the research methods and bibliographical tools used in literary study."


The Academic Profile lists this course's topics, which will include, but are not limited to:

As a result of taking this class, students will:

This section of research methods will introduce the history of the book (Borsuk's The Book), learn practices and issues in scholarly editing (Williams and Abbott's An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies), and practice the various broad categories of contemporary literary scholarship (Nicholls' Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literatures). Students will expand a previous paper with additional research, research the textual issues of a literary work, summarize a category of modern scholarship, research a category of modern scholarship to a text, apply a category of modern scholarship to a literary work, and propose a potential masters thesis. This online section of the course will require weekly participation via discussion board responses completed outside of scheduled class time, small group activities completed via videoconference during scheduled class time, and weekly large group chats via videoconference during scheduled class time.


This course fulfills one of the four 6000-level graduate seminar requirements in the MA in English degree as well as the 6000-level non-MFA graduate seminar requirement in the MFA in Creative Writing degree.


Course Materials


required (Amazon or GCSU Bookstore)

Borsuk, The Book

Nicholls, Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literatures, 3rd ed.

Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, 4th ed.

required (GeorgiaVIEW)

course packet

recommended (Amazon or GCSU Bookstore)

Graff, Professing Literature, Twentieth Anniversary ed.

Harner, Literary Research Guide

MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd ed.


Assignments and Grade Distribution


Revised and Expanded Paper, 15%

You will conduct additional research for a recent paper by composing a 10 source annotated bibliography and revising and expanding the paper.

Textual Scholarship Annotations, 5%

You will annotate three sources that examine the textual issues, publication history, or readership history in a work selected by the class.

Scholarship Summary, 5%

You will summarize a broad category of scholarship.

Scholarship Presentation, 25%

You will lead the class in a discussion one of the broad categories of scholarship with the help of a 10 source annotated bibliography of theoretical sources that founded and/or developed the approach.

Scholarship Application, 25%

You will lead the class in a discussion of a work of literature applying one of the broad categories of scholarship, with the help of a 10 source annotated bibliography of critical sources discussing the text.

Thesis Proposal, 25%

You will conduct research for a potential masters thesis by composing a 20 source annotated bibliography, 2-3 page summary of findings, and 3-4 page thesis proposal.


Course Policies



We will use the course site for the syllabus schedule and assignment prompts; supporting documents include an participation record, a course grade calculation spreadsheet, FAQ, a GeorgiaVIEW walkthrough, a guide to literary analysis, a research methods guide, and paper templates. We will use GeorgiaVIEW for assignment submission and the course packet; if you experience technical issues with GeorgiaVIEW, contact the Center for Teaching and Learning for support at or 478.445.2520. We will use Zoom for online small group activities and large class chats during the scheduled class time. Check your university email for course-related messages. Use an online backup or cloud storage service to not only save but also archive versions of your work in case of personal computer calamities.


Our course includes three kinds of participation: making a comment or asking a question in the large class lectures and discussions conducted virtually over Zoom during the scheduled meeting time, active engagement in small group activities conducted virtually over Zoom during the scheduled meeting time, and 100-200 word posts in the GeorgiaVIEW discussion board that respond to assigned reading outside of the scheduled class time but by Sunday of the week in which the questions were posted. Each week with two meeting days, you are required to participate twice: 1-2 Zoom sessions and 0-1 discussion posts. Each week with one meeting day, you are required to participate once: either a Zoom session or a discussion post. I encourage you to participate in all the available ways. If you do not turn on your Zoom video, or if you do not fulfill the minimum participation in a given week, then your weekly participation is considered zero. You can receive two zeros without penalty. However, for each week of non-participation beyond two, you will receive a one-third letter grade deduction on your final course grade. You can check your participation here.

MLA Style and Length Requirements

Part of writing in a discipline is adhering to the field's style guide. While other disciplines use APA or Chicago style, literature and composition follows MLA style. Assignments such as in-class exams, discussion board responses, informal/journal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted; however, formal assignments and take-home exams must employ MLA style. One-third of a letter grade will be deducted from a formal paper or take-home exam for problems in each of the following three categories, for a possible one letter grade deduction total: 1) margins, header, and heading, 2) font, font size, and line-spacing, and 3) quotation and citation format. A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length (not including Works Cited page) while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a additional one-third letter grade penalty. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by referring to the MLA style checklist. Feel free to use these templates that are preformatted to MLA style.

Late Assignments

We're all busy with multiple classes and commitments, and adhering to deadlines is critical for the smooth running of the course. There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction per day (not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late. I give short extensions if you request one for a valid need at least one day before the assignment is due. I will inform you via email if I cannot open an electronically submitted assignment; however, your assignment will be considered late until you submit it in a file I can open. Because your completion of this course's major learning outcomes depends on the completion of pertinent assignments, failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within five days of its due date may result in failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date may result in failure of the course.

Academic Honesty

The integrity of students and their written and oral work is a critical component of the academic process. The Honor Code defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work the words or ideas of an author or fellow student. Students should document quotes through quotation marks and footnotes or other accepted citation methods. Ignorance of these rules concerning plagiarism is not an excuse. When in doubt, students should seek clarification from the professor who made the assignment." The Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog define academic dishonesty as "Plagiarizing, including the submission of others’ ideas or papers (whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained) as one’s own. When direct quotations are used in themes, essays, term papers, tests, book reviews, and other similar work, they must be indicated; and when the ideas of another are incorporated in any paper, they must be acknowledged, according to a style of documentation appropriate to the discipline" and "Submitting, if contrary to the rules of a course, work previously presented in another course," among other false representations. As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, "since the primary goal of education is to increase one's own knowledge," any student found guilty of substantial, willful plagiarism or dishonesty may fail the assignment and the course. Here is how I have dealt with plagiarists in the past. This course uses plagiarism prevention technology from TurnItIn. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Passing or Failing of the Course

There are three ways to fail the course: failing to regularly participate in class, plagiarizing, failing an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade, be it from poor quality, lateness of submission, or a combination of poor quality and lateness. By contrast, students who regularly participate, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course. You can calculate your final course grade here.

Writing Center

Writing consultants will work with any student writer working on any project in any discipline. To learn more about Writing Center locations, hours, scheduling and services, please go to If you have questions about the Writing
Center, send an email to

Additional Policies

Additional statements regarding the Religious Observance Policy, Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability, Student Rating of Instruction Survey, Academic Honesty, Fire Drills, Electronic Recording Policy, and Academic Grievance or Appeals can be found here.


Course Schedule

Week 1

R, 8-13


Week 2

T, 8-18

Borsuk, The Book, 1-110

R, 8-20

Revised and Expanded Paper: Original Paper Due W, 8-19

Small Group Activity: Original Paper Workshop

Week 3

T, 8-25

Borsuk, The Book, 111-258

R, 8-27

Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, 1-70

Small Group Activity: Introduction to Bibliographical Studies

Week 4

T, 9-1

Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, 71-148

Recommended: Greetham, "Finding the Text: Enumerative and Systematic Bibliography" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Recommended: Greetham, "Evaluating the Text: Textual Bibliography" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Recommended: Greetham, "Criticizing the Text: Textual Criticism" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Recommended: Greetham, "Editing the Text: Scholarly Editing" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Scholarly Application Text Selection Due

R, 9-3

Greetham, "A History of Textual Criticism" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Kirschenbaum and Reside, "Tracking the Changes: Textual Scholarship and the Challenge of the Born Digital" (GeorgiaVIEW)

McGann, "Coda: Why Digital Textal Scholarship Matters; or, Philology" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Revised and Expanded Paper: Annotated Bibliography, Research Strategy, and Revision Plan Due

Week 5

T, 9-8

Sommer, "Language, Culture, and Society" (Nicholls 3-19)
Hopper, "Linguistics" (Nicholls 20-47)
Byrnes, "Language Acquisition and Language Learning" (Nicholls 48-72)

Textual Scholarship/Book History Topic Due

R, 9-10

Jarratt, "Rhetoric" (Nicholls 73-102)
Bartholomae, "Composition" (Nicholls 103-25)
Bernstein, "Poetics" (Nicholls 126-42)

Small Group Activity: Introduction to Modern Scholarship

Week 6

T, 9-15

Revised and Expanded Paper Due

Writing Day / Expanded Office Hours

R, 9-17

Marcus, "Textual Scholarship" (Nicholls 143-59)
McGann, "Interpretation" (Nicholls 160-9)
Venuti, "Translation Studies" (Nicholls 294-311)
Robbins, "Epilogue: The Scholar in Society" (Nicholls 312-330)

Week 7

T, 9-22

Textual Scholarship Annotations Due

R, 9-24

Gallagher, "Historical Scholarship" (Nicholls 171-94)

Week 8

T, 9-29

Rosetti, "Goblin Market"

R, 10-1

Holquist, "Comparative Literature" (Nicholls 194-208)

Week 9

T, 10-6

Césaire, A Tempest

R, 10-8

Franco, "Cultural Studies" (Nicholls 209-24)

Week 10

T, 10-13

Larsen, Passing

Thesis Proposal Topic Due

R, 10-15

Donady, "Feminisms, Genders, Sexualities" (Nicholls 225-44)

Week 11

T, 10-20

Rossetti, "Goblin Market"

R, 10-22

Warren, "Race and Ethnicity" (Nicholls 245-59)

Week 12

T, 10-27

Morrison, Beloved

R, 10-29

Friedman, "Migrations, Diasporas, and Borders" (Nicholls 260-93)

Week 13

T, 11-3

Césaire, A Tempest

R, 11-5

Thesis Proposal Conferences

Week 14

T, 11-10

Thesis Proposal Conferences

R, 11-12

No Class: Professor at Virtual Conference

Week 15

T, 11-17

Thesis Proposal Presentations

R, 11-19

Thesis Proposal Presentations

Week 16

T, 11-24

Thesis Proposal Presentations

R, 11-26

No Class: Thanksgiving Holiday


R, 12-3

Thesis Proposal Due