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Annotated Bibliographies. How and Why. What Is an Annot . Bib. Anyway?. Bibliography: a list of sources that one has used to researching a topic. Also called “references” or “works cited” depending on the style format you’re using. Annotation: a summary and/or evaluation.

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what is an annot bib anyway
What Is an Annot. Bib. Anyway?
  • Bibliography: a list of sources that one has used to researching a topic. Also called “references” or “works cited” depending on the style format you’re using.
  • Annotation: a summary and/or evaluation.
  • Put them together to create an Annotated Bibliography: a bibliography that includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources listed.
summarizing your source
Summarizing Your Source

Think about:

  • What are the main arguments?
  • What is the point of this book/article?
  • What topics are covered?
  • If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?

Length of annotation will depend on how detailed your summary is.

assessing your source
Assessing Your Source

Think about:

  • Is it a useful source for you?
  • How does it compare to other sources in your bibliography?
  • Is the information reliable?
  • Is the source biased or objective?
  • What is the goal of this source?
reflecting on your source
Reflecting on Your Source

You need to ask how this source fits into your research.

  • Was this source helpful to you?
  • How does it help you shape your argument?
  • How can you use this source in your research project?
  • Has it changed how you think about your topic?
format of an annot bib
Format of an Annot. Bib.

Usually, the bibliographic information of the source is written in either MLA or APA format and comes before the annotation.

The annotations are written in paragraph form, and their lengths can vary.

example
Example:

Holland, Suzanne. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Boston: MIT Press, 2001. Print.

This is the annotation of the above source, which is formatted according to MLA 2009 (7thed.) guidelines for the bibliographic information listed above. If one were really writing an annotation for this source, one would offer a brief summary of what this book says about stem cell research.

After a brief summary, it would be appropriate to assess this source and offer some criticisms of it. Does it seem like a reliable and current source? Why? Is the research biased or objective? Are the facts well documented? Who is the author? Is she qualified in this subject? Is this source scholarly, popular, some of both?

The length of your annotation will depend on the assignment or on the purpose of your annotated bibliography. After summarizing and assessing, you can now reflect on this source. How does it fit into your research? Is this a helpful resource? Too scholarly? Not scholarly enough? Too general/specific? Since "stem cell research" is a very broad topic, has this source helped you to narrow your topic?

more detailed example
More Detailed Example:

MacInnes, C.D. “Population Behavior of Eastern Arctic Canada Geese.” The Journal of Wildlife Management 30.3 (Jul., 1966): 536-553. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2012.

This article, by C. D. MacInnes, outlines a study that endeavored to trace the migration routes of the Canada Goose. In particular, the study sought to examine how the geese have adapted to the ecological changes that have been taking place in their native nesting grounds in Northern Canada. Along with providing extensive details about the methods and results of the study, the article provides the reader with a variety of basic information about the Canada Goose, including species name, distinguishing physical characteristics, mating patterns, and migration practices. The study looked further in depth at where certain geese travelled, depending on their point of origin, looking specifically at two routes north through the central grasslands of the United States and into Canada.

Despite the technical nature of this article, the background information that it provides about the filial behaviors of geese, such as when they decide to mate and how they treat their mates, will prove to be especially helpful in the writing of my poems. Because I am seeking to link the family practices of protection and unity of groups of geese to my own human family, this information about how parents treat their young and how mates treat each other will prove to be especially helpful. These relationships will become more important to my poems as the series progresses, especially as the speaker begins to understand the depth of her power in her relationships with mates, and the fragility of this power as it relates to the protection her parents wish to provide.

why write an annot bib anyway
Why Write an Annot. Bib. Anyway?
  • To learn about your topic--helps you read more carefully, helps you figure out a good argument, get a good perspective on what is already being said about your topic, develop your own point of view.
  • To help other researchers—provide a comprehensive overview of everything already done on your topic.
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So…
  • Summarize: What is the source saying? What topics are covered? What argument is the source making?
  • Assess: Is the source reliable? Is it objective or biased? Is it a useful source for you?
  • Reflect: Is this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?