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Context: When writing research papers, an annotated bibliography allows you to formally illustrate the research you have done in regard to a certain assignment—research that you will ultimately integrate into your essay to develop your claim.

Assignment

Write an annotated bibliography for the research essay prompt.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 100-150 words) descriptive paragraph, the annotation: it exposes the author’s point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority. Occasionally, instructors will ask for students to include how they intend to use the secondary source by adding evaluative comments. I specifically request that your annotations do not reflect your opinion or signal how the source will be used in the essay (at this stage doing so would be purely speculative). Therefore, each annotation should constitute a paraphrased (no quotes), objective summary of a peer-reviewed academic article.

As you write your annotations, brainstorm: How does my opinion differ from the selected critics? If I agree with a critic, what could I add to their argument to expand it in a new direction?

In brief: the annotation’s first sentence should paraphrase the author’s thesis and the next three to four sentences should articulate the vital minor claims (not the minor claims for each and every paragraph). Each sentence should be active voice, author-oriented (the critic), and specific to the claim i.e., Critic X argues that… The first time you mention a critic you must name them by their first and last name. After this you may call them by their last name or their preferred pronoun.

Format: 1-2 pages, typed. 12 pt. Times New Roman font. 1-inch margins. Citations will be double spaced, with indentions after the first line of citation. Annotations will be single spaced and written in block paragraph form.

Research: At least 4 peer-reviewed academic sources are required. At least one of these should be a chapter or section from Noble and/or Benjamin. You may change your sources as you write the essay; doing so does not mean that you alter your Annotated Bibliography (it is an act of pre-writing). Finally, you must engage with at least one source that you disagree with in a specific regard. 

To search for academic articles first log in to the Lemieux Library. To find academic articles, click on Advanced Search. Under Material Type select Articles. After you search, locate right hand menu Filter Your Results. Select Available Electronically at SU and Peer-Reviewed. To narrow your results, feel free to select a Topic on the same menu and/or include additional terms  in quotation marks; feel free to include any other verbiage that may relate to your interests “sexuality,” “mental health” “gender,” etc. Again, the greater challenge will not be finding sources, but filtering sources. Peer-reviewed books may be found the same way and are doubly designated as such by being published by a university press.


Annotation Example

Tate, Claudia. “Nella Larsen’s Passing: A Problem of Interpretation.” Black American Literature

Forum, vol. 14, no. 4, 1980. Pp. 142-146.

Claudia Tate argues that Larsen uses her character’s psychological complexity to avoid reducing Clare Kendry to the tragic mulatto stereotype. She attests that Larsen positions Clare not as an isolated person wishing to reconnect with her race, but as a self-possessed woman looking for excitement. She goes on attest that Larsen focuses on Irene’s unreliable narration to interrogate how the conflict between Irene and Clare stems from the former’s unease with the latter. She argues that while Irene’s obsession of Clare devolves into jealousy, Larsen purposely obscures the reality of the plot at the novel’s conclusion: the authenticity of Brian’s affair or the particulars of Clare’s death cannot be declaratively known. However, she emphasizes that the ambiguity of Irene’s guilt allows Larsen to avoid melodrama outright.


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