Research Question: What rhetorical techniques does Tacitus use to convey his vision of the past? (Annotated Bibliography Sample)
2) Annotated Bibliography
This is the first step towards your Research Essay, which is due later in the term. Doing
this bibliography now will help you do your research effectively during the term.
Deadline: 24 January 2019 by 5pm
Length: Must include Research Question plus 6 items of Modern Scholarship
Format: Point form
Your Annotated Bibliography needs to state what research question you want to answer
in your Research Essay. It also needs to cite and comment on 6 items of Modern
Scholarship which you plan to use to answer your question.
Items of Modern Scholarship are defined as substantial pieces of up-to-date research
which have been peer-reviewed and published through an academic press. Examples
• an academic book by 1 author (would count as 1 item)
• a chapter in an academic book by various authors (each chapter would count as 1
• a research article published in an academic journal (would count as 1 item)
The following do NOT count as items of Modern Scholarship and should not be used in
assignments for this course:
• items published before 1950 (unless with prior consent from the instructor)
• newspaper/magazine articles
• master’s and doctoral theses
• book reviews
• books aimed at non-academic audiences
• Encyclopedia Britannica
• Other encyclopedia or dictionary entries
• Lecture notes from other classes
• Translations and sourcebooks of primary sources
Your Annotated Bibliography needs the following elements:
1) Research Question: State the question you are trying to answer.
Plus, for EACH item (6 items in total):
2) Full and correct bibliographic citation for the item: if you are not sure how to cite
Modern Scholarship in a bibliography, consult the ‘Assignment Resources’ section of
D2L or speak to me.
3) Summary of the key points made in the item.
4) Explanation (at least 3 sentences) of why this particular item will be useful for your
This assessment will be marked on the following criteria:
Feasibility and Appropriateness of Research Question: Have you chosen a research
question which you can answer manageably within the Research Essay word limit? Is
there sufficient ancient evidence available to answer your question? Is your question
answerable/provable? Will your question enable you to offer some analysis/to take a
position? (This will score higher than a question which calls only for narrative/a list.)
Correctness and Accuracy of Citations: Have you cited each item correctly, accurately,
and consistently in the citation style shown in class?
Relevance and Appropriateness of Items Selected: Is each item as relevant as possible
for your research question? Does each item count as Modern Scholarship as defined
above? Does the item use ancient primary sources/ancient evidence which is useful and
relevant for your research question?
Accurate Comprehension of Key Points in Each Item: Have you understood correctly
what the author is arguing? Have you explained clearly why these key points will help
you to answer your research question?
As you decide which items to include in your Annotated Bibliography, ask yourself these
questions about each one. Doing academic research involves reading and evaluating
many different items and deciding which ones are most relevant for your project. Bear in
mind that not everything you look at will actually be a good choice for your Annotated
Bibliography. In other words, make sure to start this assignment early so that you have
time to identify the best items to use. Your Annotated Bibliography should NOT be a list
of the first 6 things you have come across.
Research Questions are
Here are some suggested essay questions:
1. What rhetorical techniques does Tacitus use to convey his vision of the past?
2. How does Tacitus’ portrayal of Tiberius compare to that in Suetonius OR Velleius Paterculus?
3. What functions does Germanicus serve in Tacitus’ Annals?
4. How accurate is Tacitus’ version of the trial of Piso?
5. Why were there so many treason trials in the reign of Tiberius? (leaning towards this)
6. Could Sejanus have become emperor?
7. Does Tacitus understand the importance of imperial women during the Tiberian principate?
8. How did Tacitus’ life experiences affect his portrayal of the Tiberian principate?
9. Syme described Tacitus as ‘an historian who knew the worst, discovered few reasons for ease
or hope or confidence, and none the less believed in human dignity and freedom of speech.’ Do
you agree with this assessment?
Research Question: What rhetorical techniques does Tacitus use to convey his vision of the past?
Rhetorical Analysis: Magazine Advertisements. (n.d.). Media Research Techniques, 65-78. doi:10.4135/9781452243160.n7
Summary of the Source
According to the information provided in this article, different rhetorical techniques have been used by Tacitus to convey his vision of the past, but the sententia is the supreme expression of Rome’s self-image during the imperial period. The imperial period is widely famous with the name of Principate. Sententia can be defined as a prose epigram or generalizing maxim, and it was of great significance in the early Principate.
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