Step 1 – Discussion Activity: The Annotated Bibliography
The Annotated Bibliography will be submitted as a discussion activity. Later, when you create your Works Cited list for your Research Paper, you can copy and paste the citations for the sources you used from this bibliography into the Works Cited list.
Discussion 9A – Annotated Bibliography
A successful research essay is only as strong as your sources. You need to know what your sources say, how they relate to your main idea, and how they compare to each other. An annotated bibliography describes and evaluates your sources and includes the works cited entries. For each source, you include a 1-2 paragraph annotation that gives an overview of that source and connects it to your argument. An annotated bibliography is a great way to organize your ideas and sources as you are writing an essay. A successful annotated bibliography does several things:
- It provides MLA style (or some other style) citations, just like a regular works cited page.
- The annotation should mention the author(s) of the source and, if available, information about who they are and how they relate to the topic. This is brief, 1-2 sentences.
- The annotation should describe the main idea of the source, key concepts, and definitions of fundamental terms. This is a summary of the source.
- The annotation can evaluate the source. Is it a strong source that supports the thesis of your essay? Does it show perspective? Opposing viewpoints?
- The annotation can compare sources to one another. Does this source support another? Contradict it? Elaborate on an idea?
First, review resources on Works Cited / Annotated Bibliography
A great way to compile citations for your works cited is by using the citation or email tools, located on the right side of the screen in most research databases. If you email yourself a source, you will get a .pdf of the source and a formatted works cited citation. You will have to choose MLA from a drop down menu.
- Excelsior College OWL – MLA Style, Quoting Activity, Avoiding Plagiarism When Documenting, and Annotated Bibliographies
- Writing Commons – MLA Updates for the 8th Edition and Works Cited Page Checklist
- Writer’s Handbook – Creating an Annotated Bibliography
Next, complete and upload your annotated bibliography into Discussion 9A.
Step 2 – Discussion Activity: An Outline or Letter
After you’ve created your annotated bibliography, you’re now ready to begin planning your essay. Complete the following discussion activity as part of this plan.
Discussion 9B – Write an Outline or Letter Describing Your Essay
Write an outline for your paper, or, if you’re the type of writer who needs to create the outline after a draft of the paper is written, then write a detailed letter to your instructor or classmates describing your paper.
The outline or letter should include the following points:
- What is the main message of your paper (or thesis sentence)?
- What supporting points will you be bringing up?
- What are your strongest sources, and where will you be incorporating support from them?
- What ideas do you have for an interesting introduction and an effective conclusion? (Please review Introductions and Conclusions from Unit 1, if needed.)
For more information on creating an outline, see Outlining.
Step 3 – Draft the Paper
After considering your research and the perspectives presented in your source, it is time to draft your research essay. First, review the description of the assignment.
Next, read Writing A Thesis Statement.
Refer to resources on planning if you would like some ideas to help with the prewriting.
Finally, draft the essay.