touristWeek 6: Introduction to Unit 3, "Vacationland"; Doing Research


This week we begin a new unit, "Vacationland." At the end of the unit you will turn in your longest paper for the semester at 1500-1800 words. This essay also requires you to do research to add depth, interest, and evidence to your argument, and to build research writing skills you will need in your college career.


  • continue to develop critical reading skills
  • learn techniques for doing research
  • learn how to evaluate the quality of sources
  • understand what constitutes plagiarism
  • learn how to write an annotated bibliography

Activities & Instructions

  1. Complete the InQuizitive activities on (1) pronouns in the wrong case, (2) pronouns that don't agree with their antecedents, and (3) pronouns with unclear reference (50 points total for all IQ activities in "assignments" category)

  2. Read the introduction to Unit 3, "Vacationland."

  3. Preview the Essay 4 writing assignment (If you choose essay option 1 or 3 for your travel essay, go out and visit the locale you will write about—the sooner the better. Be sure to take a notebook and a camera and/or video camera!)

  4. View the lecture on travel writing

  5. Read the following essays. Then respond to the reading response questions at the end of each reading. Post your responses to the Discussion forum and respond to the posts of 2 or more classmates:

    excerpt from The Tourist
    , Dean Maccannell (5 points)
    "The Country Just Over the Fence,"
    Paul Theroux (5 points)
    "Fat Girls in Des Moines" Bill Bryson (5 points)

  6. Read Sections R-1 "Doing Research," R-2 "Evaluating Sources," and W-12 "How to Write an Annotated Bibliography" in the Little Seagull Handbook. 

  7. Email your tentative thesis to me (or your topic, if you are unsure what exactly you will argue in your essay). Also, make a list of research questions and "key words" to help focus your research. I will send you helpful suggestions!

  8. Start your research! I will expect to see at least 4 scholarly sources discussed in your finished essay—interviews, Wikipedia, and general travel sites don't count as scholarly sources! In your Annotated Bibliography, you will need to have at least 8 sources total (scholarly and popular), with an evaluative annotation of each source. You might end up not using all of these sources in your finished essay — some research results may be too general, or end up being irrelevant to your specific topic — but it is good to cast a wide net in your research! Your typed Evaluative Annotated Bibliography is due next Wednesday!! Take a look at this sample for further guidance.

Optional, but highly recommended . . . Visit the library! See a research librarian!

I want to encourage all of you to use the library research database (from home or campus) and to visit the SRJC or Petaluma Library early in your research process. Our reference librarians are amazing and really love to help students with all aspects of research and research-based writing. You can even make an appointment with a librarian for help with your project (just use the link on the lower right of the library home page).

To begin your library research, go to and use the easy "single search" box by entering a few key words for your project (for example, if I were writing an essay on Angel Island's history as a detainment center, I might enter the following key words: Angel Island, immigration, Chinese Exclusion Act).

SRJC Libary Home Page