Skip to Main Content

Writing Your Paper - CECS and Mathematics

Video from Brock University Library

Using your sources to build your arguments

Ask yourself these questions about each of the articles you select to build your evidence and arguments:

Does your article raise questions you hadn't considered or make claims that shape your thinking? -Integrate these into your arguments to develop and focus them further 

Does your article provide evidence for any of your arguments? -Integrate the relevant evidence or data into your own argument and explain its significance

Does your article take a position counter to any of your arguments? -Include these sources to strengthen your own arguments by explaining and providing evidence of why you disagree with them

What relationships do you see between your articles? -Integrate the arguments and evidence from your sources together to use them as building blocks for your own conclusions and arguments

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography consists of two parts: the Bibliography and the Annotations.

An annotated bibliography starts out like any other Bibliography, by giving the information that would be needed for someone else to find and read the same article you did. This let's them see the source of your information and decide for themselves if your conclusions are valid and if they follow from the facts. Once you find the information needed to direct your reader to your source, you will simply organize it into a specific arrangement according to the style guide that is used in your field. Style Guides differ in the way that names are recorded (surname first, or only an initial for the given name, maybe an initial for each given name), the order of the information presented (does the publication date come before or after the title), the appearance of the text (it the title in quotation marks or italicized or underlined, are abbreviations allowed), and the punctuation used (are there periods or commas between pieces of information.) The information given in a citation is almost the same and it always serves the same purpose, to ensure that others can find your original source material. A good resource to get an overview of the different styles (and also good in depth information too) is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Once the citation is completed it is time to begin the second part, the Annotations. Your annotations describe and evaluate each source. This is where subjectivity starts to come in to the process. You will start by giving a summary of the article, this differs from an abstract though because you WILL need to include your opinion in this summary. You will explain if (and give reasons why or why not) this article was useful to you and whether it should be used as a resource by future researchers on this topic. When writing your annotations be sure that you:

Summarize the key points of the source. Try to answer all of the following questions:

  • What was the topic? Was it properly addressed in this article?
  • What was learned through the research that is explained in this source? Was that important? Why?
  • How was the research done? Critique the methods?
  • What did the authors find? Do their conclusions follow from the research?
  • Did the authors discuss implications of the research? 

Critique (evaluate) the source. Try to answer these questions:

  • Quality: Is it a useful source? 
    • Are the question, methodology, results, and conclusions laid out in an comprehensible and logical manner?
    • Is the source readable?
  • Authority: Is the information reliable?
    • Are there major errors in the design of experiment?
    • Are the conclusions sound?
    • Are the authors and/or the research center and/or journal of publication reputable?
  • Importance: Was this source needed?
    • How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?
    • What did this source offer that others didn't?
    • How does it compare with other articles and theoretical ideas discussed in class? 

Reflect on the usefulness of this source. Attempt to answer the following:


For examples of Annotated Bibliographies visit:

Tips for Writing Annotations

Pro Tip:

You can add your own notes to your citation tracker program of choice. That is a great place to make use of any and all annotations you write. It will save you time and frustration later in your careers when you want to find a source you have read before but can't remember exactly which one it was.

University of Michigan - Dearborn Logo
  • 4901 Evergreen Road
    Dearborn, MI 48128, USA
  • Phone: 313-593-5000
  • Contact us