Assignment 2: Annotated Bibliography for Argument Paper (paper 3)
Meets all outcomes, APA format
See syllabus for due dates.
Grading criteria: is the grading rubric in the syllabus.
Annotations are critical or explanatory notes about a text. In an annotated bibliography, they provide brief indications of a source's contents, argument, relevance, strengths, or weaknesses. Annotations often summarize and evaluate secondary sources. Scholars use annotations to supplement a bibliography, to make distinctions between their sources, to organize their research, and to remind themselves what specific sources contain.
Your assignment is to write an annotated bibliography on your possible research topic for assignment 3 that includes at least eight (8) sources (use the number that will help you make your argument.) You should vary your sources, assessing and only using sources you consider credible, useful and relevant.
Note: Your sources should not be the first sources that you find. An annotated bibliography should be a directed project that reflects your specific approach to your subject. To be most effective, this bib will include sources that will support the argument you are going to make about your chosen topic.
Suggestions: Start early. This assignment is not overly difficult, but it is time-consuming.
Sample APA annotated bib:
(Annotation taken from https://columbiacollege-ca.libguides.com/apa/annot_bib)
The library databases are online collections of millions of sources. You'll find articles from magazines (also called 'periodicals'), newspapers, and academic journals (also called 'scholarly' or 'peer-reviewed' journals), as well as ebooks, videos, and more.
The library has access to about 100 databases, all of which you can use online 24/7. You won't need to use every database, so try some of the recommended databases for this assignment:
If you are off campus, after you click on the database name, you will probably see a log in screen. Type in the library barcode number on the back of your student ID to log in.
If you don't have your library barcode number, click on the link below that says 'LSC-Online users login here' and enter your MyLoneStar username and password.
Try using electronic books: they're convenient and can cover a topic in more depth than articles or webpages. These ebook databases make it easy to search, save, and cite entire books and book chapters.
Need assistance? Post a question for Jane the Librarian on the Research and Citation Questions discussion board in D2L.
Use the search box above to look for books, ebooks, DVDs, CDs, and more in the library system. A few things to keep in mind about using books for research:
Books allow writers to go into more detail and depth on a topic, but you don't necessarily need to read the whole book. You might find that just one chapter or one section of the book is all you need to support your argument.
If a book you want is at another library in the Lone Star College, Harris County Public Library, or Montgomery County systems, click on Place Hold and enter your library barcode and PIN to request the book be sent to CyFair for you. It is free, but takes about 3-4 business days.
For help finding your library barcode and PIN, call the library at 281 290 3214 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIP: Don't check Electronic Resource AND a Library location: they will cancel each other out!
Want to make your Google searches a little more effective? Try some of these tips.
Type phrases in quotation marks
Useful if you want to find a specific phrase, instead of words separately. Check out the difference in the number of search results when you use quotation marks around a phrase and when you don't:
Limit searches by domain or website
Let's say you're looking for information from a government source or on a university's webpage. Use Google's site limiter to limit your search results to a specific domain (like .gov or .edu), or even a specific website.
Just type site: and then the domain or website in your Google search (without spaces).
In this search, compare the difference in the number of search results when you limit to a .gov domain:
This will also work with a specific website. In this example, I've limited my search to a specific government website:
Limit search results by date
For some research topics, you want to be sure you are using the most current information available. You can use Google's Tools menu to limit your results by date.
After you Google something, click on Tools under the search bar. Two new menu options will open up below.
Click on the Any Time menu to limit to a specific time range or to a custom range you can set yourself.
Check out our video on evaluating search results in the Academic Search Complete database and the read below for more info about how to select a good source for your topic.
You could find the most trustworthy, reliable source of information out there, but if it's not actually relevant to your topic, it won't help support your argument. You want to find information that directly addresses your research topic.
How can you tell if a source is relevant while you're researching? You don't have time to do a close reading of the entire book, chapter, article, or website while you're in the middle of researching (that will come later), but there are some strategies you can use to determine whether or not the source is actually relevant to your topic:
This is the best way to figure out what the source is about without doing a close reading.
If you are searching the library catalog for books, just click on a book title for a detail page. Most books have a summary and table of contents available:
If you are searching the library databases for articles, most databases will include an abstract of the article. An abstract is a short summary of the article.
To view an article's abstract, you can usually click on the title or jump to the first page of the article. In most databases, you will see a little magnifying glass close to the article. Just hover your mouse over that icon to read the pop-up abstract:
For example, if I were writing about efforts to combat global warming effects in the United States, I probably wouldn't use this article, since its focus is India, not the U.S. However, if I were thinking of writing about international efforts to fight global warming or looking for ideas the U.S. could borrow from other countries, this article might be a good match.
2. Skim the source for keywords that match your research topic
If the title and summary/abstract seem relevant, move on and skim the source. If it's a book, take a look at the table of contents and quickly read the introduction. If it's an article, quickly read the introduction and conclusion.
As you do a quick read, look for keywords and ideas that line up with your research topic. If the source only mentions your topic briefly, move on and fine something more relevant.
3. Make sure the source is appropriate to your reading level
When you search the library catalog, you might find books aimed at children or teenagers. When you search the library databases, you might find scholarly articles aimed at professors and experts on the topic.
You want to be like Goldilocks and find the happy medium. So look at the cover and length of the book: does it seem like it's for school children? Skip it.
When you skim the source, pay attention to the vocabulary. If there is a lot of technical or academic jargon you find hard to understand, skip it.
4. Pay attention to the argument the source is making
Remember that you are writing an argument paper. What position does the writer take on your research topic?
You want to find sources that not only help support your argument, but also sources that take the opposing view so you can refute their arguments.
5. Read, read, read
In the end, the only way to really determine whether or not research sources are relevant is to read them. You are probably going to read more sources than you will end up using in your annotated bibliography: not every source in your search results will be relevant.
So leave plenty of time to complete this assignment so you don't have to rush the selection process. Ask yourself questions about whether or not what you're reading is relevant to your topic. Be sure take breaks to keep your mind fresh. And choose a topic you are curious about so you will want to read more about it!
The LSC-CyFair Library building is closed until further notice.
Online References Services are available while we're closed.
Harris County Public Library
Lone Star College-CyFair Branch
9191 Barker Cypress Road
Cypress, TX 77433
281.290.3214 - Reference Desk, 1st floor
281.290.3219 - Reference Desk, 2nd floor