Rather than outline or map a group of sources in a 5-7 page written paper, in this assignment students find 6-7 sources form them into an annotated bibliography. Students should write 300-500 words about why each source is relevant and interesting. Part of the way this assignment is assessed is the degree to which students are able to articulate how the given sources are articulate and interesting. All sources must be cited in MLA-style. Students are strongly encouraged to find at least 3 argumentative sources pertaining to their topic, each arguing from a different set of premises to reach a different set of conclusions, and students are encouraged to use their remaining sources to provide context for their topic. All of this work is done outside of class in order to make time in class for various interesting readings. If you choose to give your students this assignment, be sure to encourage them to come to office hours for help brainstorming about various research strategies.
An excellent annotated bibliography by a geography student follows. Note how he takes advantage of all of the stylistic advice offered on the previous page, and how the paper’s sections begin to take shape even in the source descriptions. Note also that the writer's tone is upbeat and informed. We get a strong sense that the writer cares about the topic and will make it interesting to read about.
Use the links below to learn how to write an annotated bibliography.
Bibliographies are traditionally arranged by Author and then Title or Year, and this arrangement can be used for annotated bibliographies as well. However, it may make more sense to organize an annotated bibliography thematically or chronologically. Use your own judgement, or ask your professor for guidance.