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Foundations of Research

This guide lays the foundation for critical research skills. You learn these skills in IS 101 and can review them at any time.

Library Class Session 11/14

Citation Help

What is an annotation?

What exactly is an annotation?

Why does it exist?

  • "Annotation"
    • A note that comments on source

What is the point?

  • To show you've read it, understand it, analyzed it, and applied it--whether to summarize, evaluate its use, or review it.

Why can't you just write a summary?

  • We already have those--they're called abstracts. They don't ask you to engage with the text for analysis, evaluation, and application.

What are its parts?

Three parts:

  • Summarize: What was it about, and what were the conclusions?
  • Assess: The quality and usefulness of the source
  • Reflect: How the information contributes to the body of knowledge and your own research

How to write an annotation

Critique while reading the source:

  • Contribution to body of knowledge
  • Writing style
  • Insights and blind spots
  • Additives (Graphs, illustrations, figures? Do these enrich your understanding?)
  • Context of authority of the source

Critique while writing the annotation:

  • Summarize the content--briefly.
  • Explain why your selection was chosen--how does it interact with your research?
  • Discuss the value of the piece--include all relevant points from the above.

Your writing style:

  • Write using third person (avoid the use of "I" and "you").
  • Support your points with evidence from the source.

Annotation examples

Always check with your assignment requirements

  • Your professor may want full-page annotations or may only want certain info in the annotations
  • Craft your ideas into coherent, flowing sentences and paragraphs whatever the requirements

Standard paragraph-length annotations

It is generally standard for an annotation to be 200-250 words (one paragraph). Below is a real 7-source annotated bibliography. Check it out to see how the format and sentence structure work.

Full-page annotations

This is an example of one full-length annotation. Notice how, by the time the author reaches the end, they have answered all 9 of the Engeldinger questions.

Also notice how the answers to the questions are implicit--the student has written sentences that weave the answers together as a coherent annotation and not as a patched-together list of information.

In MLA style.

Looking ahead: advanced search strategies

Foundations Infographic

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