Research Review Assignment

The goal of this assignment is to familiarize you with a source that will help you to learn more about Shakespeare’s work and explore it through various angles for Shakespeare study (language, performance, history, Shakespeare in our modern world, etc.).

You and your partner (if you choose to work with someone) will select one of the sources listed below and perform a review of it—a summary and evaluation of the source that you have chosen. Your review should provide an overview of the source, give an example of how someone might use it, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, and finally formulate some questions about Shakespeare’s work that the source might help to answer. We will also use your reviews to generate essay assignments for the rest of the class.

You will then prepare a presentation for the class that gives us an overview of your resource, offers examples of how we could use the selected resource for research or teaching, and provides your evaluation of the resource.

Source Options:

You should select the resource you will review from the following list. If there is a resource that you know about that is not on this list, please run it by me for approval before beginning on your work.

Folger Luminary Shakespeare Editions Download the app in iTunes

This is an interactive app for the iPad that allows you to engage with Shakespeare’s plays (Macbeth, in this case) in a number of different ways.


Interactive website assembled by the Royal Shakespeare Company “measures Shakespeare’s digital heartbeat.”


Website that collects documents, videos, and other resources on the performance of Shakespeare’s plays.


The companion website for a popular PBS series includes resources for teachers and students.


In the front of your book, there is an insert with a “Registration Code” for accessing the materials at:

Use the instructions in the insert to access this site, which contains a host of resources for the study of Shakespeare.


The Folger, located in Washington DC, is one of the world’s leading institutions for researchers and teachers of Shakespeare. Their website includes resources especially for teachers working with K-12 students, along with a host of other material for the study of Shakespeare.


This website that allows you to view Shakespeare’s original texts online. Find out what Shakespeare’s plays looked like when they were first printed, and see the differences between your modern edition and these original texts.


Global Shakespeares takes a wider view of the bard’s work and provides an archive of video and other materials documenting performances of Shakespeare from around the world.

Oxford English Dictionary Online (language, history)

Us this resource to explore what the words Shakespeare used meant to his audience in his time.  This is a powerful resource that can be used to gain a better understanding of language and history.  Accessible through the library website:

(note: you may need to use your New Paltz login and password for access):

Royal Shakespeare Company Workshop: Speaking Shakespearean Verse (performance, language)

This is a series of television programs with great Shakespearean actors and directors from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) talking about Shakespeare’s language and exploring how to perform his scenes. In this episode, the discussion focuses on Shakespeare’s language and performance. (Available through Theater in Video resource on the College’s Library website:

(note: you may need to use your New Paltz login and password for access).

Finding Shakespeare (history, language, Shakespeare Today)

A site maintained by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the UK’s leading institution for the study and preservation of Shakespeare’s art. Site is based around an actively run blog, but also includes exhibitions of varying kinds (Shakespeare’s Music, a podcast series on Shakespeare and objects).

The English Renaissance in Context (ERIC)

A web resource that allows you to explore Shakespeare’s texts, the history of early modern England, and performance history through multi-media presentations.

Requirements and Guidelines:

A review is written to provide your audience with the elements they need to make a decision about whether or not something is worth their time—please keep that in mind as you prepare yours!

In your class presentation, you will summarize what you have learned about your resource and demonstrate for the class its strengths (and weaknesses). In it, you will:

1. Give an overview of your resource. Who put it together? Is it maintained and up-to-date?

2. What would a student find most useful about this resource? What kinds of paper topics (or other projects) could you imagine being inspired by this site?

3. Overall evaluation: What were the strengths and weaknesses of the resource? What advice would you give to someone using it for the first time? What suggestions would you make for the resource’s improvement?

You will about 10 minutes for your presentation–please be sure you practice so that you stick to your time limit!

A note about group work! I expect that each member of the group will play an active and equal role in completing the work for this project. Along with your Research Review you will submit a signed collaborative work statement that clearly states who was responsible for the various parts of the project. If it is clear to me that a member of the group has not contributed to the project, I will reduce his or her grade accordingly.