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#English and Literature

Resources to support the English classes at LSC-University Park.

Writing Tips

Tools to Manage Your Research

Keeping track of information you're getting from which source is important when you do research. You may want to try one of the following tools to manage your notes as you progress through your research. These also have the added benefit that your research will be accessible to you wherever you have network access - no forgotten flash drives or laptops.


Zotero is the only research tool that automatically senses content in your web browser, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click. You can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and really anything else. Zotero automatically indexes the full-text content of your library.


​Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network. Make your own fully-searchable library in seconds, cite as you write, and read and annotate your PDFs on any device.


Though not as purely dedicated to academic research, Evernote lets you clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times.


Similar to Evernote, OneNote lets you arrange content into virtual notebooks containing files, notes, and web clippings. (As a Lone Star student, you're entitled to free Office 365 and 1 TB cloud storage.)

Google Drive Google Drive
Google Drive offers cloud-based versions of document & presentation editors that can be shared between accounts. Multiple users can edit a document at the same time, and changes (as well as the revision history) are automatically synced. PDFs or other documents can also be uploaded.


MLA: Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a works cited list, but each citation is followed by a paragraph of explanation and justification: why is this source one of your sources? What does it bring to your research?

You will summarize the relevant information you're getting from that source (but remember, this isn't your paper -- you are summarizing, not presenting all the information itself) as well as how this well help you in your research (by providing background information, by exploring a certain angle, by presenting a contrary idea...).

Creating an annotated bibliography is not simply an academic exercise. An annotated bibliography is a tool to help you summarize your source content and evaluate its place within your research. If a source satisfies your "usefulness" criteria, that source belongs on your annotated bibliography.

This process begins the transition from reading sources to incorporating content (ideas, quotes, paraphrasing) into your work. It is time to "make sense" of the knowledge you have gained from your research. This knowledge is the foundation on which to build your own voice, explain your methodology, discuss your conclusions, make and report on your new knowledge. 

Of course, evaluation of sources goes beyond "usefulness" to the other elements of authority, credibility, currency, and purpose.

Consulted Saylor Academy's open access course on research concepts and the writing process:  Research Writing in The Academic Disciplines (pdf). Annotated bibliographies have additional purposes that depend on the intent of the writer/researcher and the specific discipline.  

  1. Citation
  2. Annotation is a brief and concise statement about the source. Think in terms of a "note" consisting of 5-6 sentences.
  • One sentence to evaluate why the author is an expert on the topic(authority).
  • A sentence on the intended audience of the source (purpose).
  • A few sentences (perhaps a paraphrase) that explain how this source will illuminate your topic and how you will use the content in your paper (usefulness or relevance).
  • Any other criteria of note for this topic or discipline? 

Image of MLA 9th annotated bibliography example