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Assignment | Annotated Bibliography (Thomas): Getting Started

ENGL 1302 | Prof. Thomas (Spring 2020)


Your Assignment

For your assignment, you will be creating an annotated bibliography to allow you to collect, summarize, and reflect on your sources. As Professor Thomas notes in the assignment: "The benefit of this project is to help you better recognize why some sources may be more effective than others and to practice researching scholarly sources."

Your annotated bibliography will need the following elements: 

  • 5 sources minimum (at least 3 must be scholarly)
  • Use MLA formatting and include a full citation for each source
  • Summarize your source and include a brief reflection about your thoughts on the source

How to Use this Guide

This guide is organized into sections to help you work through the research and writing process to complete your assignment.  As you start, review the Research Process box to the right to see how this might look for you.

Once you have read over your assignment, head to the Types of Sources tab. Here you will learn how to evaluate information to identify credible sources, and also how to identify scholarly sources.  Remember, all scholarly sources are good, but not all good sources are scholarly. For this assignment, you will need 5 credible sources and 3 of those must be scholarly. The Doing Research tab has databases, newspapers and reputable websites that are relevant to your research topic.

As you are researching, make sure you keep track of where you find information so that you can cite it in your paper. The MLA Annotated Bibliography tab will show you examples of how to format an annotated bibliography as well as show you how to create both in-text citations and full citations for your Works Cited page. You can go directly to the MLA Guide for here as well. Remember, you must give credit for any words or ideas that are not your own!

If you have questions throughout the research process, please feel free to contact the UP Library! Our contact information is listed on the Panic Button tab. Don't worry, no alarms will go off! But you can email, text, or chat with us online about your research questions. 

Doing Your Background Research

First, you need to get acquainted with your topic. Illustrated couple on dateThink of it like going on a date: you're trying to get to know the other person (your topic) without scaring them off because you're trying to talk about marriage, houses, and grandkids (i.e. your "real" research) on the first date. And, of course, once you've gotten to know them better, you're able to buy them gifts and guess what they would like, because you've taken the time to establish those little basic details.

Benefits of Background Research

  • Illustration icon of thinking personCONTEXT! You can't really speak coherently about the impact of the automobile on society if you aren't also aware of what the horse-drawn carriage society was like, what the state of manufacturing was like, the purchasing power of the auto's target demographic, and so on.
  • You learn the JARGON. Scholarly articles are written by experts, for experts. They don't usually take the time to remind their readers what a term or process means, since the assumption is the readers already know. This can also present a barrier to finding those articles, as well. What's a non-expert to do? You've got to learn to speak the language of the field.
  • IDEA DEVELOPMENT! Let your research help you do research. As you're learning about the context and picking up on new terminology, you'll also be noticing key people, places, and events that relate to your topic... all of which will help you delve into your deeper research more effectively.

Where To Do It:

Honestly? This is the time resources that are otherwise verboten are useful. You know... Wikipedia or even just whatever comes up when you Google for your topic. These are not the sources you're going to cite in the end -- you just need them to give you ideas in a simple and straightforward way.

If you want an option like Wikipedia but better, check out Credo Reference (linked below). It provides short synopsis articles from reputable encyclopedias, and even has a mind map tool to help you visualize how topics relate to each other.

Learn More

Get Ideas for Topics

Research Process

Research process steps, from narrowing your topic, developing your argument, and producing your drafts


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