Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography    

You have by now begun to focus your research. You have gathered a preliminary set of sources to support your inquiry, and you have proposed a focused research question. To further develop and clarify your answer to that question, you will now compile an annotated bibliography.

In this assignment, you will present the detailed results of your research so far. It may be helpful to think of this document as a draft of your final project — an annotated bibliography is a streamlined way to sort and evaluate the information you have gathered, to plan the organizational structure your essay might follow, to articulate your process, and to demonstrate to both you and your audience the appropriateness of your sources.

Sources in your annotated bibliography should include traditional and contemporary texts; corroborative, descriptive and analytical materials; and should represent a range of views and information. Specifically, your list must include:

  1. at most two reference sources
  2. at least two actual books (essay collections count)
  3. at least two articles from academic journals (which are not book or film reviews)
  4. at least two articles from credible newspapers/news magazines
  5. at least two visual texts (including films, photos, maps, charts, graphs, paintings, etc.)

 To be clear, I am not asking for exactly two of each item on the above list. Some of these source criteria may overlap. For instance, you may find a book full of cool images regarding your topic — that will cover a book requirement and a visual text requirement in a single source. The same thing could happen if you find a newspaper article that includes a photo, or a book that is a collection of academic articles. You may have no reference sources to discuss at this point — terrific. You may have more than ten sources in all to talk about at this point — terrific. “At most” and “at least” mean just that. The goal is to ensure depth and breadth of sources. 

This assignment is also a potential draft of the works cited or works consulted list that will be required with your final project, so put your complete bibliography in alphabetical order (do not separate the entries by genre or type of source), and proofread it closely. 

All standard bibliographic information should be included — in MLA format — plus an annotation, for each entry. Annotations are brief explanations/evaluations of the source material that serve as a guide both for the reader and for your own organization and argument. Annotations should be 1-2 paragraphs each, descriptive and evaluative, consistent and clear.

  1. step one: Keep a citation guide in front of you for a complete reference on MLA format.
  2. step two: Write a complete and accurate bibliographic entry for each of your sources. Do not annotate yet, just get all the publishing information recorded and arranged alphabetically.
  3. step three: Now go back and annotate; for each of your sources:
  • Paraphrase the central idea or argument.
  • Summarize how this idea is introduced/explained/supported.
  • Indicate any statistics, studies, terminology, theories, and any biases, assumptions or faulty logic that make this source favorable or not in general.
  • Explain exactly how this source will be useful, or not, for your particular project.

Objectively summarize a source first, then evaluate in detail.

This assignment will be assessed according to:

  1. Accuracy of citations (step 1&2—adherence to MLA standards, proofreading!). 10 points
  2. Thoroughness and clarity of annotations (if you have more than 2 entries on a double- spaced page, your annotations are not detailed enough; if a single annotation takes more than a double-spaced page, it is not succinct enough). 10 points
  3. Depth/breadth of research (not all entries are from a similar source, genre or angle; entries show evidence of following chains of research). 10 points
  4. Academic voice and critical distance (edit the final draft for virtually no grammatical, punctuation, or usage errors, and stay away from “I” in this genre of writing). 10 points

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