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Annotated Bibliographies: Annotating

Tips and resources to get you started on that annotated bibliography!
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I have my resources. Now what?

I have my resources.  Now what do I do?

You can start annotating even before you have all of your resources. Sometimes, carefully reading and annotating an article will give you information, like keywords or author names, that will help you find other suitable resources.

Start by reading the article.

You already read the abstract when you were deciding whether to use the article.

Read the introduction - the author or authors should tell you the main idea of the article. (If it is not labeled, this is the first paragraph or two.)

Read the conclusion - the author or authors should summarize how the article provided evidence for their main idea. (If it is not labeled, this is the last paragraph or two.)

Now that you know what they were trying to say and how they think they said it, read the rest of the article. 

Keep in mind your purpose for reading.  You think this article might support a project you are working on, so think about your research question as you read the article.  Think about what you already know about the subject.

Highlight important points

  • The main idea
  • Key words
  • Important evidence supporting the main idea
  • Information you think should go into your summary

Consider using two different colors and a pencil while you are reading the text.  The main color highlighter can be for the above points.  A secondary color can be for words or phrases you don't understand or want to look up.  The pencil is for your own comments in the margins (this is called "marginalia.")



Summarizing the resource

Annotated bibliographies almost always contain a summary of the resource, whether the bibliography is intended to be descriptive / informative or analytical / critical.  Most academic articles include an abstract: this is NOT what you use for your summary.  Your professor wants to see what YOU got from the article.  

Evaluating the resource

Tips for Reading Articles

Tips from MIT's OpenCourseWare for 21A.01 How Culture Works (Fall 2012)

Approaches for Reading

Other Helpful Guides

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