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PLS202 - Dagnes

Applications in Public Affairs

Annotation Information

To annotate a source, first write the bibliographic citation for the source at hand. Then, in paragraph form, write your annotation below the citation. Consider the following when writing your annotation.


  • What's the source about?
  • What's the author's argument? How does s/he make this argument?


  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the argument?


  • How does this source relate to your research and the other sources in your bibliography?
  • How does the source help you?

Adapted from Williams College Libraries

Annotated Bib Tips

Lit Review Models

Examine the model literature review below.

  • Look for major ideas.
  • Determine how (and why) the author organized the literature review - thematically, chronologically, or methodologically.
  • Consider what rhetorical devices the author used to walk the reader through this section of their paper.

Ask the following questions as you read. Reflect on why the author made specific decisions in their writing.

Did the literature review...?

- big picture stuff -

  • engage with specialists in one discipline, or generalists in more than one discipline?
  • contain headings throughout to identify different themes/concepts?

- writing conventions -

  • flow in an engaging manner?
  • contain topic and transition sentences in each paragraph?
  • use appropriate citations?
  • put key words or concepts in italics/bold, making them easy to identify?

- analysis/evaluation -

  • describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration, noting contradictory studies?
  • include major debates among scholars?
  • provide a new interpretation of the topic, or new solution to a problem?
  • trace the intellectual progression of the field, or reveal a new trend in the field?
  • highlight an aspect of the field that is missing?
  • discuss seminal works (influential studies that changed the direction of the field)?
  • explain how the existing literature intersects with their project, and/or how their project complements the existing literature?