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FRE 3060 Perspectives on French Civilization

What should be in an annotation?

Q: What should be in an annotation?

A: An annotation consists of two parts. The first part is a brief summary of the source, usually no more than a few sentences.  The second part is an analysis of the source.  

Q: What elements should go in an analysis?

A: Ask yourself some of the questions below in the "Evaluating Information" box. Also consider the Literacy Frames, especially the concept of authority. Sometimes an analysis will also include how you intend to use the source in your paper and why it will be useful for you specifically. Don't just say "because it is about my topic"! How does the source help you? Does it establish background or context? How does it help you to build your argument?

Q: How long should an annotation be?

A; Typically an annotation is about 150 words. You want to be concise, but still give enough detail for the annotation to be useful to your reader.  But your professor will let you know the specifics for your assignment.

Evaluating information sources - The Basics

What does the title tell you about the content?

  • Look at the title of the book, journal, article, website, or the URL.
  • A resource can have a great title but then be full of tangential ideas or not be related to your research – or vice versa – look deeper.

Can you find information about the author?

  • Is the author named?
  • Does the author have expertise on the subject?
  • What are his/her qualifications? Look for information in the resource.
  • Use Google or Google Scholar to find evidence of research on the same subject by the author.
  • Is there contact information on a website?

What is the date? Is there a date?

  • How current is the resource?
  • Is it important that the information be current?
  • Is there a date of the last update on a website?

Who is the intended audience?

  • Is the language simple or technical? Is it scholarly?
  • Use Google to find information about a publication.

How relevant is the resource?

  • What is the resource about?
    • For a book, check the table of contents and the index.
    • For an article, read the abstract, summary, and conclusion.
    • For a website, check the home page for clues.
  • Is the subject applicable to your research?

How objective is the content?

  • What is the author’s point of view?
  • Is the resource well-researched and detailed?
  • Or is it biased?
  • Is the information the author’s opinion or supported by facts?
  • Are there advertisements or items for sale?

Does the author document his or her sources?

  • Are there references, citations or related sources of information?
  • Are there footnotes?

Examples of annotations

Here are some websites with good examples of annotations that you can follow.