What is an annotated bibliography and how do I make one?
An annotated bibliography helps you gather sources relevant to your research.
Be organized. As you search the databases and the Web, save pdfs and citations. Try using NoodleTools to collect citations so that you can export them into a bibliography later.
As you collect sources, think about how the sources can support your claims and provide evidence for your arguments. Organize your thoughts in an outline, pulling out important quotations and ideas from the sources. NoodleTools allows you to make an outline and to create notecards to record quotations and paraphrasing from sources.
Note: when you see folks get caught for plagiarism in the news, they often blame it on poor organization or a bad memory (I had forgotten where I heard that!). Keep organized to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
Follow your professors guidelines to decide what and how much information to include in your annotated bibliography. Usually, an annotated bibliography includes some of the following:
A brief summary (including paraphrasing) of ideas or arguments in a source.
A brief assessment or evaluation of the source. Is the source relevant or useful to your research? How does it fit in (complement or stand in opposition) with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this author biased or objective?
A brief reflection. How will you use this source in your argument? How did it change how you think about your topic? What is new and unique about the author's claims?
Need more help? Purdue OWL is a great resource for writing an annotated bibliography - and it has some samples.
Common annotated bibliography slip
When we are at the earliest stages of our research, we don't all the way know what we want to argue, what is ahead of us. So, when we get to the annotated bibliography, we tend to scoop up the required number of sources, annotate them and wait for the next part of the assignment.
In today's session, we will talk a lot about how important and helpful it is to stay focused on a narrow topic when searching for and gathering sources. We will talk about how to collect sources with a planning mindset so that the work you do at this stage will serve you best later on.
Remember that the claims you make in a paper should be in direct proportion to the sources you cite.