Monday, May 18, 2015

What About……Using the Annotated Bibliography in lieu of a Research Paper?

Many instructors want to incorporate writing assignments into their courses, but assigning a research paper seems daunting. Perhaps assigning an annotated bibliography will do the trick. 

An annotated bibliography is a method of demonstrating to readers an understanding of a topic and the research that supports it. The annotated bibliography allows students the opportunity to select a topic of study (or be assigned one) and to conduct scholarly research about it. Students then evaluate what research would effectively support a thesis concerning the topic. By locating and reading research concerning a topic of study, students must critically think through the topic, gaining perspective about the subject matter. 

After this process, students then prepare an annotated bibliography that presents a thesis and lists each piece of research deemed important to the topic. The annotated bibliography includes a summary paragraph of each research piece and an explanation as to how the research supports the thesis. In this way, the annotated bibliography will provide you with evidence that your students have read about a topic and made analysis of it. Depending on the depth of study you want from your students, the annotated bibliography might be two pages or longer. Plan to allow students several weeks to construct their annotated bibliography and encourage them to contact our librarians for additional help in locating research. The beauty of using this format is that it can easily be used with any subject matter at any time during the term, and it can be as involved as you want it to be.

For suggested tips on how to prepare this type of assignment and a sample of an annotated bibliography entry, please visit the CTE website/Teaching Tips or email Carole Kendy at