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Honors 100 Holland: Library Guides

Research resources for your annotated bibliography and final project.

Your assignment

From Dr. Holland:

Research Unit includes these assignments; see Research Unite for Models for these assignments,

  1. RT - Pick Research Topic and submit topic in Assignments. You will receive 15 points for submitting your topic. Due November 2.
  2. RP - Proposal, including time line for research and turning in draft(s)- 25 points.   Due November 9. 
  3. E3-CAB - Critical Annotated Bibliography-8 to 10 sources (half popular and half scholarly. It may be hard to find scholarly sources for some conspiracy theories.) - 150 points. Due November 15.  
  4. DE4-Draft of Research Paper -150 points. Due November 23.
  5. Study Week WebEx Sessions to present Research. Each you will have 5 minutes. November 30 and December 2. 
  6. E4- Final Research Paper - 300 points. Due December 7.
  7. E5 -See Week 13 for Assignment on Autobiographical Explorations. 

Research Unit: 

For the rest of the semester you will be researching the topic you pick for the research paper. The research paper is between 2000-2500 words  (8 to 10 pages). The wordcounts for Works Cited and Bibliography are not included in the body of the paper. Mr. Mark Lenker is our Lied Librarian for this research paper. 

Your paper must include: See PowerPoint on Organization of Research Paper. 

  • Introduction
  • Review of Literature-See PowerPoint
  • Body of the Paper – with subheadings if needed. Body can include-
    • Historical overview of conspiracy theories, such as the illuminati. This section may require scholarly articles. 
    • Psychology of conspiracy theorists and people who believe these theories. This section may require scholarly articles. 
    • Sociology-one aspect of sociology deals with cults. Many conspiracy theorists are cultist in their adherence to a leader. 
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited
  • Bibliography

Generic Topic: Conspiracy Theories. Conspiracy theories are as old as the hills. Some die away from lack of interest, some get reinvigorated by a new generation of gullible people, some are brand new and contemporaneous with today’s culture.

Some conspiracy theory topics. Notice that the Kennedy Assassination is not on this list. Why: Because it’s been done to death, and the Warren Commission Report is the most thorough debunking of this theory ever written. Reddit, 4Chan, YouTube, and other internet platforms are  full of conspiracy theories. Remember theories are hypotheses that need testing to become demonstrated truth.

Selected Conspiracy Theories:

  • 5G and Bill Gates
  • anti-vaxxers
  • birthers
  • climate deniers
  • FEMA
  • Flat Earth Society
  • Holocaust deniers
  • Illuminati
  • origins of COVID19
  • Sandy Hook Massacre
  • QAnon-This is a hot topic. It is all right if several of you pick this topic. 

Students may pick their own conspiracy theory to be approved by Dr. Holland. In the research, students will see how science and social science are applied to debunk conspiracy theories with scientific evidence. 

Conspiracy theories (that are not true) depend on logical fallacies to convince people the theory is reasonable. Some conspiracies theories are based on unsolved mysteries. These mysteries are hard to research to find out what’s real and what is fiction.

Some of these fallacies are: 1) anecdotal evidence 2) cherry-picking data 3) false cause 4) the slippery slope 5) begging the question 6) personal gullibility.

Refer to the Module in Canvas “Resources for Research Paper” for materials you will need for the research paper.

Selected popular sources on conspiracy theories:

  1. https://www.crf-usa.org/images/pdf/challenge/Conspiracy-Theories-Past-and-Present.pdf (Links to an external site.)
  2. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200522-what-we-can-learn-from-conspiracy-theories (Links to an external site.)
  3. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/06/17/conspiracy-theories-pandemic-trump-2020-election-coronavirus-326530 (Links to an external site.)
  4. https://www.insider.com/popular-conspiracy-theories-united-states-2019-5#the-brunswick-springs-in-vermont-is-so-mysterious-that-there-are-theories-about-its-powers-35 (Links to an external site.)

Teaching and Learning Librarian

Mark Lenker's picture
Mark Lenker
Contact:
4505 South Maryland Pkwy.
Box 457001
Las Vegas, Nevada
89154-7001
mark.lenker@unlv.edu
702-895-2248

Problems with online access?

Consult with Mark the Librarian

Working with students on their research is by far the best part of my job.  We have several options for working together:

  • Email me at mark.lenker@unlv.edu.
  • We can talk over the phone (email me first, and I'll share my contact info).
  • UNLV provides nice Webex conferencing software, which is basically like Facetime or Skype but with more options for sharing information.  We can also chat through Google Hangouts. Use the "schedule appointment" button on the left to find a time that works for you, and I will be in touch to make arrangements for our web meeting.

For more options for assistance, see http://ask.library.unlv.edu/.

 

Starting Points

Starting with a background source can help you decide what aspect of your topic is most interesting for you to research further.  It can also help you learn the terminology that other researchers use to describe your topic.  Finally, many background sources will suggest additional sources for you to consult.

Extra Highly Recommended

Sharon O'Malley has written an excellent 2018 report on conspiracy theories and their impact on our democracy.  You will find it in CQ Researcher.  Just search for conspiracy theories.

Finding Books (including E-books)

Finding Articles

Questions about citing your sources?

The Library has collected some helpful resources on this page.

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