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ENVS 1150: Assignment & Activity

Annotated Bibliography

As preparation for your sustainability essay, you'll research an environmental topic of your choice, then write an annotated bibliography, using APA citation style. 

Your annotations should discuss: Credibility  Validity  Bias  Relevance

Sustainability Essay

You will write an 8-9 page essay on the topic from your annotated bibliography. 

Annotated bibliography

The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to describe books, articles, and other sources that contribute to your understanding of your topic. The sources you choose serve to represent the conversation that other thinkers and writers are having about the topic. 

Keep in mind that the sources you choose will communicate a number of things to your audience. They will:

  • Provide background and context  
  • Highlight currency or relevance of your topic
  • Signal your allegiance with other thinkers
  • Supply evidence and examples
  • Establish your knowledge and authority

Types of Annotated Bibliographies

Informative or descriptive: Written to present findings and summary of original material.

Evaluative: Written to assess and evaluate the original material and to clarify the original. 

The most important aspect of the annotation, for you as a writer, is your reflection on how the work will support or extend your inquiry.

Learn more about annotated bibliographies & APA citation style

See an example!

Credibility: 
The credentials, education, experience of an author(s) as related to the topic of research.

Who is the author? Do you value the author's expertise? Does the expertise relate to the topic? How or why did the author gain your trust? Are there other voices that might be more credible or credible in different ways? 

Validity: 
The quality of the research used to support the argument being made.

Who is the intended audience? Is the author's intention to persuade, sell, inform, analyze, evoke, engage, question or...? What opinions or claims are express? Does the author offer evidence or support of claims? At what conclusion does the author arrive? Is there sufficient justification for the conclusion?

Bias:
The presence of a limited perspective or view on the topic.

Does the author make assumptions on which the arguments or rationale rest? What is your analysis of these assumptions? What method of attaining evidence is used (personal experience, experiment, survey, interviews, tests etc.)?

Relevance: 
The degree to which a source addresses your research topic.

Does the content sufficiently address the topic or subject? When was it published? How might you use the source in your own writing? What need might it fill for you as a researcher-writer?

 

  • Skim the intro and conclusion first
  • Check for references, hyperlinks, or citations
  • Measure your reaction to the evidence or examples used
  • Identify generalizations or problematic assumptions
  • Check claims for accuracy against other sources
  • Identify degree to which multiple viewpoints are presented
  • Judge the tone and language used
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Seminar Activity

 

Sample Topic

What are the causes of climate change?  What effect does human activity have on the environment?


  1. As a group come up with a set of criteria that you will is to evaluate sources
  2. Skim the three sample source.
  3. Evaluate the sources based on your own criteria with your peers.
  4. Be prepared to share your findings with the class.

Source 

Criteria

 

Voice | Authority | Credibility

Purpose | Audience | Viewpoint

Need | Relevance | Use

Who is the author? Do you value the author’s expertise and credibility? How or why did the author gain your trust? Are there other voices that you imagine might be more credible or credible in different ways?

Who is the intended audience? Is the author’s purpose to sell, persuade, inform, analyze, evoke, engage or…? What opinions are expressed? Does the author offer evidence or support for claims? If so, how? 

Does the content address the question or topic? How? When was it published? Does that influence its relevance? How might you use the source in your own writing? What need does it serve for you as a research-writer?