The Annotated Bibliography

This assignment is crucial; it allows you to explore various positions on your topic that you committed to in your issue proposal and allows you to prepare some research before you dive into your exploratory & position papers.  

  As noted in the issue proposal, I will not accept issues on abortion rights, the legalization of any drug, capital punishment, or religion.  I also do not accept papers that rely on religious beliefs as their major support.  Certainly, no one wants to persuade you to change those beliefs.  

YOU CANNOT USE SOURCES FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB!  You must use sources from the library's databases or other sources from a library (i.e. books, magazine, journal, or newspaper articles, videos, etc.)

Remember to select articles and references carefully and to be suspicious when deciding which articles to use (is the source credible?).  Remember to include those articles that cover many different perspectives on the topic.  You will need to select sources that present both the for, against, and nuetral stances on your issue.

Why should I write an annotated bibliography?

To learn about your topic: Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you're forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you'll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you'll then be able to develop your own point of view.

To help other researchers: Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.

The annotated bibliography assignment requires you locate SIX academic journal articles and/or books relevant to your research topic on your own using the library's electronic database (or any other library).

YOU SHOULD LOCATE A MINIMUM OF TWO SOURCES THAT REPRESENT THE FOR POSITION, TWO THAT REPRESENT THE AGAINST POSITION, AND TWO THAT REPRESENT THE NEUTRAL STANCE ("For" represents a "yes" response to your research question, an "against" position would be a "no" answer to your research question, and a "maybe" response to your research question is considered "neutral."

To access the library's electronic databases, click here.

Access the library's homepage here.

Access thousands of full-text online books through Ebook Central (ProQuest) and EBSCO ebook Academic Collection at the database link above.

Once you have decided on your six sources, you will have to read and analyze them and take extensive notes.  If they are long or book-length articles, then do your best to skim them.  Always look at the table of contents, the chapter headings, and the index or bibliography in the back.  You can learn a lot about a book from doing these things before you read it at length.  You will then go back and read carefully the parts that are relevant to your paper.

Next, you should carefully read each article, underlining any ideas that you feel are important and/or those that elicit a strong personal response.  As you are reading, record your own personal responses in the margins of the article.  Then, you should write the article's annotation.

To complete each annoation, first write the MLA citation for the article (check your handbook for the correct citation).  Your annotation should be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt., and Times New Roman font, using MLA style.  

List the six sources alphabetically by author’s last name, using MLA style, and then write an eight to ten sentence blurb summarizing each of your six sources.  Make sure to identify the author’s claim in your summary and other important points made in the article.  Finally, indicate in a sentence how you might use the source in your exploratory or position papers.  Here is an example (but you will double space everything): 

Pitts, Leonard.  “Parents’ Influence is Limited.”  The Dallas Morning News.  2 February  2002, 27A.

In this editorial, Pitts first claims that people are too quick to blame a child’s parents if the

 child does something wrong.  In fact, he says, parents might even enjoy pointing the finger at

other parents who have a child in trouble.  However, he tell us, once he had his own children, he

became more humble and realized that no matter how “good” parents are, children will still do

things that are “bad” and against the “rules” that guided how they were raised.  This leads him to

an example:  a song by Marvin Gaye, suggesting that parents should stop trying to mold children

“like their own piece of clay.”  Finally, he argues that parents should keep offering wisdom,

guidance, and love, but stop thinking that they are the ultimate influence on their children’s lives.

He also explains that parents are not the only sources of influence upon children.  He claims

that the media and the video game industry are growing increasingly influential.   I will use this

article to illustrate the perspective of those that believe when a child does something bad, the

blame is too easily placed on parents.

For an additional example, click the link below:

Remember that the purpose of an annotation is to give a reader a condensed and objective account of the main ides and features of a text.  Indicate the main ideas of the text.  Accurately representing the main ideas (while omitting the less important details) should be your major goal.
Use direct quotation of key words, phrases, or sentences.  (“According to Hattemer” or “as Hattemer explains”) to remind the reader that you are summarizing the author and the text, not giving your own ideas.  NOTE:  Instead of repeating “Hattemer says,” choose verbs that more accurately represent the purpose or tone of the original passage:  “Hattemer argues,” "Hattemer explains,” "Hattemer warns,” “Hattemer asks,” “Hattemer advises”  (These are referred to as author tags).
Avoid summarizing specific examples or data unless they help illustrate the thesis or main idea of the text.
Report the main ideas as objectively as possible.  Represent the author and text as accurately and faithfully as possible.   Do not include your own personal reactions
•  Lastly, in one sentence explain how you might use the source in your research paper.
Make sure to vary your sources (printed articles [not available on-line], full-text articles from the library’s electronic databases, books, magazines, academic journals, etc.).  You should have at least three different types of sources.  Remember to print and/save several copies of the source. 

IN ADDTION TO REPRESENTING THREE DIFFERENT POSITIONS ON YOUR ISSUE, You should ensure that together all of your  sources adequately answers all of the questions below:

I.   Exigence:  How/Why is your topic relevant to American culture?  Who are the interested parties? What are the values, beliefs, and traditions held by these individuals that have shaped their opinion/belief about this topic and why do they disagree?

II.    Facts:  Did it happen?  Does it exist?  Who says so? Why? What evidence supports this?

III.   Definitions:  What is it? How should we define it? How should it be classified? How should it be interpreted? How does its meaning change in a particular context? (Definition is used to establish the meaning of one or more key terms)  Who defines it this way?  What is the evidence that supports such a definition?

IV.   Causes/Effects:  What caused it? Where did it come from? Why did it happen? What are some possible reasons? What are the observable results? What are the effects? What will probably be the results over the short and long term?  Who says so?  What is the evidence that supports such claims?

V.    Value:  Is it good or bad? How bad? How good? Of what worth is it? Is it moral? Immoral? Who thinks so? What do these people value? What is the evidence that supports such claims

VI.  Policy:  What should our future course of action be about this issue?  What steps might be taken to solve the problem?

Grading Scale:

18-20 A
16-17 B
14-15 C
12-13 B
  0-11 F