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The University of Akron Wayne College Library
Choosing an engaging research topic is the first step in having a successful outcome for your research project. You're going to be spending a lot of time thinking about and writing about your chosen topic so you may as well chose something that is meaningful to you and more likely to keep you interested throughout the process.
Check out the Tools for Brainstorming LibGuide for ideas on how to brainstorm a meaningful topic and then how to use brainstorming tools to help you organize your thoughts and drive your research strategies.
Mindful Reading: An Essential Step
Mindful Reading: An Essential Step in this Project
According to Dictionary.com, Mindfulness can be defined as "a technique in which one focuses one's full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations" without judgment.
Rather than hitting the databases and collecting a bunch of articles that may or not be related, start your search by finding a single, very relevant article. Practice mindful reading habits and then follow the steps below to collect articles you will use in your annotated bibliography.
Mindful reading: Requires attention, requires practice:
- Read with a purpose and read with focus.
- Connect what you're reading with what you already know or what you are learning in this class.
- Read to reflect.
- Ask yourself throughout: "How will I use this information to build on the information?"
- Recognize your place in the scholarly conversation: What is the relationship between you and the scholars who produced what you are reading?
While reading, ask the following:
- What is this about and why was it written?
- Who wrote it? (Evaluate authority)
- How did they conduct their research?
- So what? Why do I care?
- How does this information connect with other literature I have encountered? How does it connect to me, my life, my future professional life?
- Use a research databases to perform an online keyword search strategy based on your brainstormed research topic. (Review the Information Literacy Modules if needed).
- Perform your search and spend time carefully reviewing your results. After considering the titles and reading the abstracts, select ONE article that you feel is the best result from the list. (Or change your search strategy until you find a single article that seems like a good match).
- Skim the full text of the article to confirm that it is a good starting point for your topic.
- Print out the full text of the article. (The whole thing, including the references)
- Read the entire article once, asking yourself the questions above.
- Read the article again, and annotate it. Use a highlighter or colored pens if you like. Write down or highlight things like the following:
- Questions that come up in your mind as you read
- Keywords and subject headings that are addressed in the article
- Vocabulary: look up unfamiliar terms and write their definitions in the margins
- Gaps in the research: What's missing that you would find helpful to your understanding of the topic?
- Problems you see with the research as presented
- Ideas for follow-up
- Practical ideas you like
- Craft a new online keyword search strategy incorporating what you learned from this article.
- Review the references to locate related articles that might help fill gaps, answer questions, further develop the topic for you.
- Finally, perform a new search strategy to find related articles or relevant cited articles to include in your annotated bibliography.
- Repeat these steps with your remaining retrieved articles.
Write you annotations for your annotated bibliography:
- Wait until you have read each of the articles critically and made your annotations and notes.
- Think about how each of your articles relate to each other.
- Write each annotation with all required details which may include: authority, intended audience, comparison to other articles in your bibliography, and how the article illuminated the topic.
Annotated Bibliography Resources
- How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography | Cornell University Library
Provides explanations about and examples of writing annotated bibliographies. Written by Michael Engle, Amy Blumenthal, and Tony Cosgrave from Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA.
- Annotated Bibliographies | The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue
Provides definitions about, reasons for, and formats and examples of annotated bibliographies. Written by Dana Bisignani and Allen Brizee from The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue, Purdue University.
- Annotated Bibliographies | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"This handout will explain why annotated bibliographies are useful for researchers, provide an explanation of what constitutes an annotation, describe various types of annotations and styles for writing them, and offer multiple examples of annotated bibliographies in the MLA, APA, and CBE/CSE styles of citation." From The Writing Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Annotated Bibliography | The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Links with responses to FAQs about annotated bibliographies. From The Writer's Handbook, The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Citing Your Sources
Helpful guides to citation styles:
The Info Squad @ UA Wayne College Library