One of the reasons we teachers Insist that student-researchers cite your sources and compile an annotated bibliography is so that you can prove you have done some valid research to back up your argument and claims. Teachers may wish to double check a claim or interpretation that you have made.
An annotated bibliography provides specific information about each source the student-researchers have used. As a researcher, you have become an expert on a topic: you have the ability to explain the content of your sources, assess their usefulness, and share this information with others who may be less familiar with them. Think of your project as part of a conversation with people interested in the same things you are; the annotated bibliography allows you, the student-researcher, to tell readers what to check out, what might be worth checking out in some situations, and what might not be worth spending the time on. It’s kind of like providing a list of good movies for your classmates to watch and then going over the list with them, telling them why this movie is better than that one or why one student in their class might like a particular movie better than another student would.
WHAT DOES AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY DO?
A good annotated bibliography:
– encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.
– proves you have read and understand your sources.
– establishes your work as a valid source and that you are a competent researcher.
– situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation.
– provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it.
– could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.
WHAT ELEMENTS MIGHT AN ANNOTATION INCLUDE?
– Explanation of main points and/or purpose of the work—basically, its thesis—which shows among other things that you have read and thoroughly understand the source.
– Verification or critique of the authority or qualifications of the author.
– Comments on the worth, effectiveness, and usefulness of the work in terms of both the topic being researched and/or your own research project.
– The point of view or perspective from which the work was written. For instance, you may note whether the author seemed to have particular biases or was trying to reach a particular audience.
Taken, with modifications, from University of North Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Writing Center (Links to an external site.).
RefME (links to an external site) is the next generation research tool that makes building works cited and bibliographies for research impressively easy. So, what makes RefME special compared to EasyBib, Son of Citation, and any of half a dozen other citation automaters? First, RefME takes advantage of working on computers, iPhones, and Android devices. RefME stores your various projects in the cloud, so you can research school databases on your computer, then grab your device and roam the library or another location, and shoot the data to the same file. The information you find is then sent to the same folder that your computer has open. Second, RefME has barcode reading software, so no more typing author name, publication date, etc., Third, the user interface is the cleanest and easiest to navigate that I have ever seen. Simplicity itself. Fourth, unlike some other services that allow for one or a few formats for free but charge a fee for APA, for instance, RefME makes every format/style that I have ever used free to the app user. Fifth, this design team is pushing ahead with additional features like OCR, PDF annotation, and other exciting features. They appear hungry.