The Assignment

The Research Notebook (RNB) assignment asks you to devote approximately 4-5 hours completing independent research for the sake of research for each of the plays we read in class. Your RNB is a record of your careful, engaged reading of each major text we read for this class, beginning with 1 Henry IV and ending with Hamlet. You’ll complete this work in multiple sittings over the two weeks we study each play.

The last section of each RNB will be a short paragraph that highlights the best discovery you made while completing the RNB. These best discoveries will serve as the starting points of conversation on “RNB Days,” when class discussion of the play will be driven by your research interests and discoveries.

  • To teach you to perform careful, extended, nuanced research (and to show you that such research does not need to be significantly more time-consuming than rewording the sort of shallow results that appear on the first page of a Google search).
  • To enhance our course dialogue by centering in-class discussion around hard-earned facts and impressive ideas (rather than off-the-cuff remarks).
  • To teach students how to use careful research to write essays that are more persuasive, precise, and impressive. Rhetoric is important in essay-writing, but research is primary.

Remember that this site supplements but does not replace the assignment prompt for the RNB. You’ll want to consult that prompt for basic information about completing the assignment. Below is a list of downloadable documents related to the assignment. 

*All resources listed above are designed to be accessible to all students. If you find that’s not the case, I would be very grateful if you could let me know.

**Technically, you could earn an “A” working only from the prompt. It has all the basic information you need to complete the assignment.