English 6601 Methods of Research, Fall 2022

T 5:00-7:45 p.m., Arts & Sciences 342




Dr. Alex E. Blazer


Office Hours: TR 10:15-10:45 a.m. and 3:30-4:45 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 review the history of English studies (Miller's The Evolution of College English), introduce the history of the book (Borsuk's The Book), learn practices and issues in scholarly editing (articles by Greetham, Kirschenbaum, and McGann), 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, research and apply a category of modern scholarship to a literary text, and propose a potential masters thesis (MA students) or journal article (MFA students).


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

Miller, The Evolution of College English

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

required (miscellaneous locations)

GeorgiaVIEW course packet

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Baldwin, "Sonny's Blues"

Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Halloween (1978)

Kingston, The Woman Warrior

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

recommended (Amazon)

Graff, Professing Literature, Twentieth Anniversary ed.

Harner, Literary Research Guide

McComiskey, English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline(s)

MLA Handbook, 9th ed.

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

North, Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History


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 two or 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 (MA students) or journal article (MFA students) 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 attendance 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 at or 478.445.2520. 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.


Because this liberal arts course values contemporaneous discussion over fixed lecture, regular attendance is required. Any student who misses seven or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) will be dropped from the course and fail. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond three. I suggest you use your three skip days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and web surfing will be treated as absences. Unexcused absences include work, family obligations, and scheduled doctor's appointments. Excused absences include family emergency, medical emergency, religious observance, and participation in a college-sponsored activity. If you have a medical condition, extracurricular activity, or job that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than four days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. The university absence policy can be found here. You can check your class attendance record 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. 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.

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 visit Send questions to

Required Syllabus Statements

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

COVID-19 Statement

Both the WHO and CDC recommend vaccinations (WHO, Advice for the public and CDC, Operational Guidance, updated August 11, 2022). Both the WHO and CDC recommend wearing masks in public in areas of community transmission (WHO, Advice for the public; WHO, Q&A; and CDC, Operational Guidance, updated August 11, 2022). The CDC COVID Data Tracker assesses community transmission. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and contact Student Health Services. If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home and contact Student Health Services. GCSU has a decision path for students. Do not attend class while symptomatic or testing positive. During isolation, retrieve class notes from a classmate and consult with me about make up work. Absences due to isolation will be considered excused if appropriate documentation from Student Health Services or Academic Advising is provided. If you continue to test positive after the date the university gave you for an excused absence, your positive test counts as an excused absence. However, any absence beyond seven class periods, regardless of excuse, will be considered excessive and result in the student being dropped from the course and failing.


Course Schedule

Week 1

T, 8-16

Miller, The Evolution of College English, 1-123

Syllabus Questions

Week 2

T, 8-23

Miller, The Evolution of College English, 124-250

Revised and Expanded Paper: Selection Due (S, 8-21)

Revised and Expanded Paper: Workshop

Week 3

T, 8-30

Borsuk, The Book, 1-110

Scholarly Application Text Selection Due

Week 4

T, 9-6

Borsuk, The Book, 111-258

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

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

Textual Scholarship/Book History Topic Due

Week 5

T, 9-13

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

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

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

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

In Class Activity: Introduction to Textual Scholarship

Revised and Expanded Paper Due

Week 6

T, 9-20

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

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

Sommer, "Language, Culture, and Society" (Nicholls 3-19)
Hopper, "Linguistics" (Nicholls 20-47)

Byrnes, "Language Acquisition and Language Learning" (Nicholls 48-72)

Week 7

T, 9-27

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

Textual Scholarship Annotations Due

Week 8

T, 10-4

McGann, "Interpretation" (Nicholls 160-9)

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

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Week 9

T, 10-11

No Class: Fall Break

Week 10

T, 10-18

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

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Thesis Proposal Topics Due

Week 11

T, 10-25

Venuti, "Translation Studies" (Nicholls 294-311)

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

Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Week 12

T, 11-1

Bressler, "Ecocriticism" (GeorgiaVIEW)

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

Halloween (1978)

Week 13

T, 11-8

Robbins, "Epilogue: The Scholar in Society" (Nicholls 312-330)

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

Baldwin, "Sonny's Blues"

Week 14

T, 11-15

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

Kingston, The Woman Warrior

Week 15

T, 11-22

Thesis Proposal Presentations

Week 16

T, 11-29

Thesis Proposal Presentations


F, 12-9

Thesis Proposal Due