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 (ex.: 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.