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ENG 200: English Composition II (Matsumoto): Annotating sources

Annotating sources

Summarize each source by outlining its main points in several sentences or in a short paragraph.  This is your annotation. 

Assess each of your sources for the following

  • Coverage - Does it cover the topic broadly or is it narrowly focused?
  • Audience - Is it written for academics, professionals, or the general public?  Is it easy to understand or does it use a lot of highly technical and/or specialized terms?
  • Bias - Is the information presented objectively (unbiased) or from a particular point of view (biased)?  Does it support or contradict your own arguments on the topic?  Understanding opposing viewpoints can help you to strengthen your own argument so don't ignore them. 
  • Relevance - How does the source relate to your overall topic?  How do you anticipate using it in your research? 

How to assess different types of sources

  • For articles you can read the abstract to get an idea of what it's about or if there's time, read it in its entirety. 
  • For books take a look at the table of contents,  view author credentials, and read relevant chapters.
  • For websites review the relevant pages keeping an eye out for any descriptions about the site's authors, contributers, sponsor, and/or publisher.  Look for credentials, years of experience, publications, and affiliations.

Click here for additional guidelines from the Purdue OWL.

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