Tag Archives: bibliography

Annotated bibliographies: assets to the writing process

by Bailey Bischoff

Writing annotated bibliographies can seem like busywork. After all, if you found the article or data from a reputable source, why do you need to talk about its validity? However, annotated bibliographies can be used for much more than just proving a source is valid and relevant. Annotated bibliographies are one of the best ways to getting a jumpstart on writing a paper.

What is an annotated bibliography, and why is it so useful? Let’s break it down. Each annotation should include a summary of the source, an evaluation of the validity of the source, and the relevance to your eventual paper.

1) Summary: The summary should detail the content of the source, as well as the purpose and intended audience. Through describing the source and intended audience, you will start to get a better idea of how the source will fit into your paper. The more you know about your sources, the more you will be able to easily incorporate them into your paper!

2) Validity: Evaluating the validity of the source is essentially an argument that your paper will be supported with the right kind of information and can help you identify whether or not you have a good variety and number of sources needed to write a thoroughly researched paper. This section includes gauging the author’s bias and authority, which means you might have to do some background research on the author. Also, take into consideration when the source was written and whether that affects relevancy to your topic.  Understanding the scope of your research (and identifying any holes) can save you from doing last-minute research after writing your paper, only to find that it your paper wasn’t as well-researched as you had intended.

3) Relevance: Establishing the relevance of the source is really just summarizing the value of the source to your specific project or purpose. Writing on the relevance of the source forces you to think about how the information it provides fits into your paper. Touching on the relevance in an annotation can get you thinking about the organization of your paper, an important pre-writing step which will help your paper flow together better.

Summarizing and evaluating the relevance and usefulness of each source gets you to think about how each source will fit into your paper. After writing an annotated bibliography, you should be ready to write an outline and identify where more research is needed. Instead of being an unnecessary, meaningless task, writing an annotated bibliography is a great way to start writing a well-rounded, thoroughly researched paper!

 

Bailey Bischoff is a political science major in her senior year of college.

Keep calm and write an annotated bibliography

by Sydni Hammar

A wise professor once told me, “Any time you’re trying to figure out how long something will take to do, take the amount of time you think it will take, and multiply that number by six.”

I have found this to be true time after time. If you care about getting work done correctly the first time around, expect to invest ample time from the start.

I put this idea into practice recently when I was given the assignment to thoroughly annotate 20 sources as part of some initial research for my capstone. Here are specific tools I use for doing thorough annotations, which take time, but are incredibly worth it:

  • Print each article out and ACTUALLY annotate the text by hand. (ex. Ask questions in the margins, paraphrase the thesis of the article, highlight key sections/sentences). If you don’t know the meaning of a word, look it up and write it in the margin!
  • After you go through the annotation process, take a break! But don’t just scroll through Facebook or Instagram—really give your mind space to absorb the information you just read. So, go for a walk, do some yoga—or whatever else works for you!
  • When you come back to write your annotation, go through the article again. This time, pay attention to your marginal comments, weave in quotes you underlined, and make sure you articulate the thesis and main points of the article.

This process may seem like a lot of work, but it is work that will ultimately save you so much time. A thorough annotated bibliography is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself as you write a research paper.

 

Sydni Hammar is a senior majoring in English, and works as an editor for Mistake House, a student-run literary magazine at Principia College.

 

 

 

 

 

The bibliographic research journal

by Shamus Jarvis

As any scholar who has composed an extensive paper can attest, the research process plays an essential role in developing a thought-provoking and original piece of scholarship. Effective research methods include not only identifying appropriate sources, but also properly documenting those sources so that one can utilize the information gleaned from various books, journals, etc. when it comes time to write the paper.

A bibliographic research journal is one such method of documentation that is less formal than a complete annotated bibliography, but is nonetheless an exceptionally helpful tool to use when engaging in a project that will necessitate extensive research. Comprised of three essential elements—1) a proper citation, 2) a summary of the source, and 3) notable quotations—a bibliographic research journal allows one to record an author’s main thesis and identify other key ideas in an organized manner.

While you should format your own bibliographic research journal in a way that best suits your research needs, I will offer my personal format preferences as a guideline for what the journal might look like.

  1. The first piece of information included for each journal entry should be a properly formatted citation. Be sure to consult your professor as to which citation style he or she expects you to use (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.).
  2. Next, create a summary of the source. What is the author’s principal thesis? Does he or she articulate any especially innovative ideas within the source? Be sure to include only summary information; do not comment on whether or not you agree with the author. This section should be roughly one paragraph long and only contain the author’s ideas.
  3. Thirdly, include quotations from the source. This is an appropriate section in which to jot down your initial reactions to a particular idea or the source as a whole. Do you mainly agree or disagree with the author? Does the source seem credible? Does the author reference any sources that you have already investigated? All of these are reasonable questions to ask yourself when examining a source.

If you anticipate analyzing a significant number of sources (e.g., fifty or more), it might be wise to include a slightly abbreviated summary section in order to save yourself some time. Again, a bibliographic research journal is entirely for your own benefit, and as you become a more proficient researcher, you will undoubtedly develop your own note-taking style that suits you well.

Shamus Jarvis is a senior theatre and English double major. He will direct a one-act play and present his postcolonial reading of Lord of the Flies later in the semester.

Conquer the exegesis process (Part II)

Here is the second half of the instructions on how to conquer the exegesis process. Created by Katie Hynd, the Post-Graduate Teaching Intern for the Religion Department in the fall of 2013, these images were taken to help as you start the exegesis process. Good luck, and have fun!

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After discussing how both the various translations and the research of a word have affected your understanding of your chosen passage, it’s time to check out the dictionaries and commentaries! All the books in my arms are various dictionaries. They define words and concepts from the Bible. In contrast, a commentary is specifically about the book your passage is found within. After studying my passage, which is Luke 10.38-42, I decided I wanted to learn more about Martha and Mary. Therefore, I looked up their names in various dictionaries and analyzed them. You get to decide what interests you. The commentaries and dictionaries will help you write these sections: Literary Context, Social and Historical Context, and the Theological and Ethical Reading of the Passage. Get ready to research! Read the commentaries’ introductions and outlines. 
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If you find something you want to learn more about, then it’s time to do more research. Go to the stacks! Most of the texts you will use are  on the third floor of the library (call number starts with BS) closest to the big windows looking toward the concourse.
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Want even more information? Check out the online database ATLA! After entering your search terms and being specific in your search terms, make sure the text you are interested in states “PDF Full Text” at the bottom. If you can’t access the article, then you can’t access the article.
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Don’t forget to think and develop your own thoughts about the passage you are researching. This is your project, and you get to write about your own connections when you write the Conclusion and Application section. Also, when you write your introduction, you get to speak to your reader about how this text impacted you. Have fun with it.
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The bibliography. This is the most important section of your paper.  Don’t let it scare you. You get to tame the bibliography. We are using the SBL style, and the “Principia College Biblical Studies Citation Guide” will become your best friend. Read it before you ask for help, but also be sure to ask for help if you are confused. This style uses footnotes, like Chicago style. Remember to keep track of your sources as you write. I suggest creating the bibliographic citations for each source you use AS YOU USE IT. That way you don’t have to search for your sources the night before each section of your paper is due.
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Now that you’re done, put all your sources on the shelving cart. Leave the shelving to the library workers. It doesn’t help anyone if you shelve a book in the wrong section. Also, the library likes to know how often books are used, and when they shelve the books you have used, they check them “in.” That being said, if you can’t find a book, ask the circulation desk about it. They may not have processed the book you want. Last note: do not leave reference materials in your study carrel. Even if you are going to dinner and plan on being back in half an hour, reference materials are for everyone, and there may be someone who only has that half our of time to work on their exegesis. You will probably be writing your paper with lots of others doing the same assignment.

Now you’re done! (At least with learning about the research process.)

Cracking the Chicago code

by Bailey Bishoff

For the first paper I wrote my freshman year of college, I was asked to use Chicago style. Having never been introduced to this style before, I wrote my paper in MLA format using parenthetical citations instead of footnotes, exactly as I had in high school. That was a mistake! MLA and Chicago are two very different citation styles. For instance, while MLA uses parenthetical citations to cite sources within the paper, Chicago uses footnotes or endnotes. These two citation styles cite different information and in a different order, so make sure you use the citation style guides found under the Principia College library Citation Guides tab to make sure you are formatting your information correctly. Click the Chicago tab.

When writing in Chicago style format, there are three types of footnotes that you will use throughout your paper: full footnotes, short footnotes, and Ibid.

Full footnote: When you are citing a source for the FIRST time and only the FIRST time, you will use the long footnote. This usually includes information like the author, title of the book, edition, publishing company, where it was published, and the page number you are citing.

For example:

  1. Karen A. Mingst and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 5th ed. (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011), 35.

 

Short footnote: This footnote includes less information than the long footnote and is used when you are citing a source again in your paper, after citing other sources in between. The reader no longer needs all of the information you have about the source, and you can shorten your footnote, stating only the author, title of the book, and page number you are citing.

For example:

  1. Mingst and Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 35.

Ibid.: You use Ibid. when you are citing a source two or more times consecutively. If you have just cited a source and use the same source in the next paragraph and need to cite it again, you no longer need to put the author and title into your footnote. Instead you can write “Ibid., (whatever page number you used).” If you are citing the same source and the same page number, then all you have to write in your footnote is “Ibid.”

For example:

  1. Karen A. Mingst and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 5th ed. (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011), 63.
  1. Ibid., 75.
  1. Ibid.

Tricky Tabbing and Flip Flopping: Remember that for footnotes, only the first line is indented, whereas in your bibliography everything BUT the first line is indented. And notice that the whereas the author is presented last name first in the bibliography, it’s first, then last in the footnote! Always check the style guide for details.

Footnote:

  1. Karen A. Mingst and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 5th ed. (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011), 63.

Bibliography entry:

Mingst, Karen A., and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft. Essentials of International Relations. 5th ed.
New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011.

Happy citing!

Bailey Bischoff is a sophomore majoring in political science and global perspectives.