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COMP 270: Technical Writing for Engineers

Annotated Research Notes

Whereas an annotated bibliography is often used in academic settings to demonstrate and synthesize your readings, annotated research notes are used more often in the professional scientific world to convey the main points and relevancy of a paper to your colleagues and share the main points as you see them.

There are several parts to writing a well done set of annotated research notes:

1. Citation - Include a complete and proper citation to the work you will be discussing to allow for your audience to be able to refer back to the original source if they want to find more information for themselves and so that they know exactly what piece you are examining.

2. Summary - Write a short summary of the paper as it was written by the author. This is the author's views NOT your own. You are summing up what was written not giving any opinions of the writing or presentation or the paper's usefulness in your current pursuit.

3. Notes - Direct notes from the source. This is the place for statistics or direct quotes. Make sure that you use quotation marks as needed and in-text citations to refer to exact locations within the original text where the information was found.

4. TRAPP analysis - Use this worksheet or another format to analysis the quality of the article. 

5. Reflective writing - This is the place for your thoughts on the usefulness of the article. What are your thoughts on what you have read? What do you think of the quality, credibility, usefulness, and value of this article to your particular need? What are your concerns with the article? What surprised you about it? Which part(s) do you need your colleagues to read for themselves.


Tips for Writing a Précis?

  • Keep it short. Turn phrases into words and words into shorter words. A good précis should be much shorter than the original (1/4 to 1/6 is the usual guideline.)
  • Stay focused and on point.
  • Make it a miniature summary of the main point, cut out all the fluff without losing any of the important points.
  • Do not include any thoughts of your own. Only include the points the author made in the article.


Suggested writing method:

  1. Read the article once all the way through.
  2. Read the article again, making note of how the information is divided. ( note whether is each point made in one paragraph, over multiple paragraphs, under headings, or in chapters)
  3. Make a section by section outline.
  4. Re-read each section again. Write one or two sentences to summarize the point made in each section.
  5. Combine the sentences you have written into a coherent text. Be sure to retain the order and spirt of the thoughts presented in the original work.
  6. Name the author. (The article doesn't speak, the author does.) 
  7. Edit to ensure that:
    • your opinion has not colored the piece
    • you have been as concise as possible
    • you have not left out any of the author's points
    • your sentences are all in third person


Tips for Writing Persuasively

  • Clearly outline the topic being addressed
  • Clearly state your position. (Either at the beginning or at the end, according to your instructor's directions)
  • Use logic and facts, quotes from experts, and examples from your research.
  • Do NOT ignore the facts that go against your position.
  • Address and refute the points that are contrary to your position.
  • For more see:
    J. Morris and J. Zwart, “Writing Essentials,” Dec. 2018, Accessed: Nov. 11, 2021. [Online]. Available:
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