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FED 101 - Fundamentals of Engineering Design: How to Summarize & Annotate

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

What exactly is an annotated bibliography?

On annotated bibiographies from Owl at Purdue Writing Lab

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

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

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