A Thousand Splendid Suns and Senior Project Literature Review
Driving Questions: How can we use research as a springboard for our project ideas? How can a country serve as a character in a novel?
I shall try not to use statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts, for support rather than for illumination. - Andrew Lang
“You see, some things I can teach you. Some you learn from books. But there are things that, well, you have to see and feel.” - Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
READING: We will read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, a novel about two women whose lives are shaped by the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan from the 1970s to 9/11. As you read, you will respond to the events of each chapter and assemble a vocabulary list. You will complete the novel in class and independently, and will be expected to keep up with the class reading and participate in class discussions.
PROJECT WORK: Once you complete your initial project pitch and receive approval to begin research from your advisor and Dr. Weatherford, you will work with your group to write a literature review for your senior project. A literature review is an essay that explores what is known and not known about a particular topic by scholars in a particular field of study. It must also identify the various strengths and weaknesses of each of the studies that you have read. The literature review is not just an annotated bibliography: it should analyze, contrast and compare the ideas reflected in the sources, not just summarize them.
The process of completing a literature review will expand your knowledge about your group's topic and help to identify areas of controversy as well "gaps in the research" that may provide an opening for your your project. During this process, you will identify the major scholars in the field you have chosen, and will locate articles, books, government documents and online resources that will prove most useful to your project for the rest of the semester.
Group Literature Review. As a group, you will go through a seven-step process to complete your literature review.
Identify keywords for research: Before you search, gather a list of keywords that are likely to bring up useful information about your topic and project idea.
Locate journals: Focus on finding scholarly resources (professional or peer-reviewed journals and books) above news articles and case studies. Google Scholar is an excellent resource for this.
Conduct a search: Look through these resources to locate articles that might be useful to your project.
Evaluate sources: You will evaluate the articles you discover using the chart linked below. As you read through different articles, look to disprove, rather than support, your original research question. If you cannot find proof against your idea, it is more likely to be successful when you try. Look for trends, areas where scholars seem to agree or disagree on a particular topic.
Create an outline: Find the 4-6 main trends surrounding your topic and create an outline following the format of the outline linked below.
Compose the literature review: With your group, turn your outline into a fully developed essay, properly citing your sources in the text. You must also provide an MLA-formatted Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
TSS chapter questions and vocabulary collection: As we read the novel, you will respond to one question for each chapter, supporting your answer with evidence from the text. Responses that demonstrate a deep level of mastery will include the student's original thinking and connect the main themes of the book. You will also collect unfamiliar words as you read and write them down on the chart, along with definitions that you determine using context clues.
Final test: The test will consist of reading comprehension questions, vocabulary and short answer questions relating to the themes in the book.
Reading response and vocabulary collection: Respond to all assigned chapters read in class and independently. I will ask you to respond to one of the assigned chapter questions and submit one vocab word/definitions at the beginning of each class, This completed chart will be turned in at the end of the book.