Annotated Bibliography Assignment | Top Universities

Now that you have selected a topic for your research project and have a tentative thesis, you will need to begin your research. Taking time to conduct research on your thesis will help bring your thesis ideas into clearer focus and provide you with fuel to alter it depending on where your research takes you. Building a body of information about your thesis should also help give you a sense of what more you want and need to learn about those ideas as you deepen your study for your research project. You will present this body of researched information in the form of an annotated bibliography.

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  • Using your tentative thesis ideas, develop a list of at least 10 different keywords you can use to begin your research. (A keyword is a word or phrase describing your topic or a thesis idea that you can type into the search box to find resources on your topic.) Some key words work very well, while others do not. You may need to experiment with different related words until you find some that lead you to the resources you are looking for.
  • Begin your research in the NOVA Online Library. (Links to an external site.) The NOVA Online librarian has created a research guide to help you specifically with the research and writing required for this assignment. Academic research requires the use of credible sources, and the databases within the NOVA online library system have all been evaluated for credibility. You may want to begin your research through the Books & ebooks tab where there are many ebook resources available for different topics relating to children’s literature or through the Articles tab where there are recommended databases and databases by subject. I encourage you to also check out the films on Demand section where films are divided into short segments with written transcripts.  (Look for My Profile at the top right of the page. Use the drop-down to log in using your VCCS credentials. If that does not work, try using the “New User? Sign up” link at the bottom of the drop-down and Create a New Account.) If you have questions about how to find good books, articles or resources after using the resources there, contact a librarian via Ask a Librarian (Links to an external site.). Select at least ten substantial resources relating to your tentative thesis. Email yourself each resource along with each source citation for MLA 8 so you will have that information for your bibliography and for your research project. If you include research that is not found within the NOVA Online Library system, you will need to evaluate such resources for credibility  (Links to an external site.)accuracy, and objectivity and you will need to compose the source citations using the MLA 8 Source Citation rules (Links to an external site.).

Helpful suggestions: 

–If you have trouble finding sources, try putting groups of keywords in quotation marks. This can improve your search results. For example, if I wanted to find out about fairy tales in children’s literature, I might try this entry: “fairy tales children’s literature.”

–Concentrate on finding articles, book chapters, web pages, resources, etc. that you can actually read and comprehend. Articles need to be substantial as well as reliable, so do not include any article in your bibliography that is briefer than 2 full print pages or 4 screens. The goal is to gather a range of ideas and opinions, so do not include more than two articles by the same person or more than two articles from the same source.

–Focus your research on your tentative thesis ideas to begin with, allowing what your research tells you to guide you in your research.

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–Use the Evaluating Internet Resources  (Links to an external site.)to make sure sources are credible, accurate, objective and current (as needed).

  • Prepare an Annotated Bibliography of the resources you find. Print out this Sample Annotated Bibliography (Links to an external site.) so you can keep the directions handy while you do your research.
  • Each entry needs to be about 100-150 words in length. Your annotated bibliography should include 3 elements: the MLA 8 source citation, an annotation (summary) of the source content, and thoughtful evaluation. (NOTE: Do not include items in your annotated bibliography that offer no value to your research project.)
  • Elements in an Annotated Bibliography:
  • Source Citation: MLA 8 Source Citation Rules (Links to an external site.)
  • An annotation: This should be enough of a description of the source (written in your own words) to tell your reader what the source is about and to briefly mention the main ideas and major supporting examples. NOTE: Select only useful articles and resources for your project.
  • An evaluation: This should include your evaluation of the source information and how it relates to your research. CONSIDER: What do you know about the author or the website sponsor? Where does this information lead you? What additional questions do you have now about the information in the source? How does this information affect the direction of your research? Are you satisfied with what you now know about this aspect of your topic? Explain your reason for selecting the source for your research project bibliography. How will the source be useful for your research report? Does it confirm or contradict your ideas about the topic so far? Does it contain statistics that you will use? And so on.
  • Alphabetize your list of sources by the first word of the source citation. Usually, that word is the last name of the author or editor. If a source/article does not have an author or editor, alphabetize it under the first word of the title (ignore articles “a, “an,” or “the” when you alphabetize).
  • If you have selected your topic wisely, and located relevant, reliable sources, you should now have a beginning bibliography for your research project, or you may now know that your original idea will not work easily as a research project and you will need to turn to another topic. As you develop your ideas for your project, you may find that you need more sources on particular issues. Add these to your bibliography as you locate them; some of them will become part of your final list of works cited.

NOTE: Research is time-consuming, but if you do a good job here, the rest of the research project will be much easier to complete. If, after you do your best, you are not able to find quality resources for your research, reach out to your instructor for guidance and direction.

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