Every quarter, the library receives a number of questions about how to create annotated outlines and annotated bibliographies. You are usually required to create one or both of these tools as part of the writing process because they help you to think about your topic and organize your thoughts in preparation for writing your paper.
An annotation is simply a note that summarizes, evaluates or explains whatever information it’s attached to. Even though it does take a little extra time up front to annotate your outline or bibliography, it can save you a lot of time in the long run, because you won’t have to go searching back through your articles to remember what each was about. Instead you’ll have a handy summary that was created in your own words, which will also help you to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
For help creating annotated outlines and bibliographies, you can see these great guides from the Online Writing Center:
- Annotated Outline: PDF document contains examples.
- Annotated Bibliography: Media piece contains examples.
You can also create an annotated bibliography by putting annotations in the notes field in RefWorks. See the library’s Annotated Bibliographies tab in our RefWorks-Advanced Features guide. Please note you must already have exported your article citations into RefWorks before you can use the annotated bibliography function.