As an author, you will spend a great deal of time crafting your compositions to ensure that your ideas, thesis statements, and arguments come across to readers clearly and with authority. The way to present a strong, persuasive argument is through thorough analysis and solid evidence obtained from credible sources. Because sources are so important, creating an annotated bibliography can be a cornerstone of the argumentative research writing process.
This chapter shows how to develop an annotated bibliography for the argumentative research project presented in Writing Process: Integrating Research. An annotated bibliography shows the authority present in each of the sources and explains why each was chosen. The information in the annotated bibliography helps readers understand the role a bibliography plays in gathering and using sources to support an argument. Later in the chapter, you will apply the principles presented to create your own annotated bibliography for one of the assignments in this course—perhaps your own argumentative research paper, as outlined in Writing Process: Integrating Research.
If you are creating an annotated bibliography, you may not have created a research log, as addressed in Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log. However, as you work through this chapter, consult Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log for additional information about locating, analyzing, and incorporating sources.
By creating an annotated bibliography, you move beyond simply collecting sources to interacting with them. When writing annotations, you read each source more closely than you would otherwise, think about it more critically, and strengthen your own claims on the topic. An annotated bibliography thus provides you with perspectives beyond your own ideas and helps you understand where your claims fit into the broader body of knowledge on the topic, or “the conversation.” Annotated bibliographies help other scholars by providing an overview of the sources and breadth of knowledge about the research surrounding a given topic.