English 6601 Methods of Research, Fall 2019

Tuesdays 5:00-7:45PM, Arts & Sciences 116




Dr. Alex E. Blazer


Office Hours: TR 11:00-12:15 p.m. and 2:00-3:45 p.m., Arts & Sciences 330


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 the profession of literary studies (Graff's Professing Literature), 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 examine the textual issues of a literary work, apply a category of modern scholarship to a text, expand a previous paper with additional research, and propose a potential masters thesis.


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

Graff, Professing Literature, Twentieth Anniversary ed.

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)

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, 25%

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

Textual Scholarship and Book History Project, 25%

You will examine the textual issues in the single work of an author of your choice as well as the publication and/or readership history of the work.

Scholarship Application, 25%

You will lead the class in a discussion of a work of literature employing one of the broad categories of scholarship, with the help of a 10 source annotated bibliography of both critical sources discussing the text and theoretical sources that inspired the scholarly approach.

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 2-3 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 problems with GeorgiaVIEW, contact support. 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. In accordance with the university class attendance policy, any student who misses four or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) may fail the course. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond two. I suggest you use your three days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and checking the internet and social media 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 or an extracurricular activity that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than four days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. The undergraduate class attendance policy can be found here, and the graduate policy here. You can check your attendance 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 FAQ handout and using 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 attend 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 attend class, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a free service available to all members of the university community. Consultants assist writers in the writing process, from conception and organization of compositions to revision to documentation of research. Located in Arts & Sciences 256, the Center is open Monday through Friday. Call 478.445.3370 or email for more information.

Additional Policies

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


Course Schedule

Week 1

T, 8-20

Graff, Professing Literature, 1-120

Week 2

T, 8-27

Graff, Professing Literature, 121-263

Borsuk, The Book, 1-110

Revised and Expanded Paper: Original Paper Due

Week 3

T, 9-3

Field Trip to visit Professor Emeritus Mike Riley's Printing Press

Week 4

T, 9-10

Borsuk, The Book, 111-258

Revised and Expanded Paper Annotated Bibliography Due

Week 5

T, 9-17

Field Trip to GCSU Library's Special Collections

Archives Presentation by Associate Director of Special Collections Nancy Davis

Week 6

T, 9-24

Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, 1-141

In Class Activity: Introduction to Bibliographical Studies

Revised and Expanded Paper Due

Week 7

T, 10-1

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)

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)

In Class Activity: Review of Textual Studies

Week 8

T, 10-8

Textual Scholarship and Book History Presentations Due

Week 9

T, 10-15

No Class: Fall Break

Textual Scholarship and Book History Project Due W, 10-16

Week 10

T, 10-22

Sommer, "Language, Culture, and Society" (Nicholls 3-19)
Hopper, "Linguistics" (Nicholls 20-47)
Byrnes, "Language Acquisition and Language Learning" (Nicholls 48-72)
Jarratt, "Rhetoric" (Nicholls 73-102)
Bartholomae, "Composition" (Nicholls 103-25)
Bernstein, "Poetics" (Nicholls 126-42)
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)

In Class Activity: Introduction to Modern Scholarship

Thesis Topic Due

Week 11

T, 10-29

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

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (any edition)

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

Borges, "The Garden of Forking Paths" (any edition)

Week 12

T, 11-5

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

Soyinka, Death and the King's Horseman (any edition)

Week 13

T, 11-12

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

Shakespeare, The Tempest (any edition)

O'Connor, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" (any edition)

Week 14

T, 11-19

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

Morrison, Beloved (any edition)

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

Edrich, Love Medicine (any edition)

Week 15

T, 11-26

Thesis Proposal Conferences

Week 16

T, 12-3

Thesis Proposal Presentations


T, 12-10

Thesis Proposal Due