Skip to main content
[NJIT logo]

Research Roadmaps: How to Summarize & Annotate

Introduction to Research

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

The Art of Summarizing

Put Yourself in the Author’s Shoes  . . . readers should not be able to tell whether you agree or disagree with the ideas you are summarizing. (p.29)

Don’t Make Lists  . . . points connected only by words like “and then,” “also,” and “in addition,” put readers to sleep.. . . First he says, . . .  Then he makes the point that. . . . In addition he says . . .  (p. 33)

Source:  Chapter 2:  Graff & Birkenstein, They Say, I Say:  the Moves that Matter in Academic Writing.  New York:  W.W. Norton.  2006.  Get the book 


What's in a Summary

Written in neutral language, without opinion or bias, include:

  • The broad question addressed
  • The main idea of the work
  • The research methods used
  • The support or evidence
  • The conclusions
  • The intended audience

Annotated Bibliographies


A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.) about a topic (in alphabetical order).

A full citation, or  bibliographic record or bibliographic reference all refer to the same thing--that is all the data elements needed to uniquely identify and retrieve an information resource.  (i.e., the author, title, journal title, date, publisher, conference name, etc.).

"References" used in APA or "Works Cited" (used in MLA) sections appear at the end of a work indicating sources referenced in that work.

An annotation is a summary that may include an evaluation or notes about the source.

Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following:

  • Summarize:  What is the main point?  What are the methods, main arguments, evidence, conclusions? 
  • Assess: What makes this a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the purpose of this work?
  • Integrate: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. How was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic

See Owl at Purdue for examples  . . . more writing help by Prof. Johnson

Subject Guide

Davida Scharf's picture
Davida Scharf

All original content on the NJIT Research Guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. All linked content maintains its respective license.

New Jersey Institute of Technology 
University Heights, Newark, New Jersey 07102-1982
(973) 596-3206
Contact Us |  Ask A Librarian | Map & Directions |  A to Z Site Index

Copyrighted 2019 | Robert W. Van Houten Library