Annotated Bibliography

Hopefully, you’ve now got a collection of sources you can potentially use in your final paper.  You are going to use those sources– at least, the most useful ones– to begin your research with an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography, as described by the ever-useful Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), is a “summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources” which helps you to better understand the content of each source.  As Purdue OWL has it:

Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you’re forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit.

To that end, you’ll be writing an annotated bibliography, which will be due on November 6th.  

Your annotated bibliography should contain at least FOUR primary sources, and at least TWO secondary sources.  Specific instructions on this part of your research project are located below.  This assignment will be worth one essay grade.

Annotated Bibliography Instructions

You will find the rubric I use to grade this  assignment below.

Annotated Bibliography Rubric

When you turn in your annotated bibliography, you will need to turn in a hard-copy of your bibliography AND turn in a digital version of your work to TurnItIn.com, an online program that helps to identify plagiarism.

I require two types of submission because I find it easier to give feedback and editing marks on a hard-copy of your essay, and because formatting online can be a little wonky.  However, TurnItIn– and other originality programs out there– are increasingly popular in a collegiate setting, and we (your teachers) think it’s a good idea for you to (a) have a better understanding of what plagiarism looks like, and (b) be familiar with the software you’re going to be asked use in your academic careers before we send you off into the wilds of college.

So, to answer some FAQs:

How do use TurnItIn?

I use it to help me identify areas where you might not be citing correctly, or places where you have tried to do a one-to-one replacement of words with a thesaurus, rather than actually interpreting and reimagining the work in your own words.  It’s important for you to know that if your paper comes up with originality problems, that DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN that I am going to conclude that you plagiarized.  It may be an indicator, but I consider other factors beyond the originality report before I go down that road.  After all, I’ve been reading your writing all semester– I’ve got a pretty good idea of how you “sound” when you’re writing by this point.

How should you use TurnItIn?

I’ve set it so that you can resubmit your paper as many times as you like up to the due date.  That means that if you submit your paper early, you can immediately check your originality report and see what the potential problems are, and then FIX THEM.  Please, please, please— use the originality report as an editing tool, and check that you’re citing properly, and attributing ideas to the people whose intellectual property they are.  Once you’ve fixed your paper, delete the previous version, and upload the corrected one.  So long as you do this BEFORE the due date, you can upload and delete as many times as you like.  Other teachers may use the platform in different ways, but this seems like the most useful system for this particular class.

The originality report says that parts of my paper are questionable, but I PROMISE I didn’t plagiarize!

Okay.  Deep breath.  Double check that the portions which have been highlighted are your own words.  Are they?  Did you goof and do the one-for-one word replacement thing with a thesaurus?  If the words aren’t yours, or you’ve just replaced a few words here and there, you need to make sure there’s a proper citation.  If you’ve cited everything properly, then there’s no reason to panic.  If you HAVE forgotten to include a citation, please go back, fix your paper, and reupload a new copy once you’ve got everything worked out.  It’s going to be just fine. 🙂

How to Set Up a TurnItIn.Com Account and Submit an Assignment

  1. Go to TurnItIn.Com
  2. Click on the link on the top right which says, “Create Account.”
  3. On the page that says “Create User Profile,” go down and click on the link that reads, “Student.”
  4. Next, fill out all the required information.  This will include your Class ID number and password.  These are listed for each class at the bottom of this entry.
  5. Once you click “I Agree” on the user certification statement, you’ll be able to see a link to your class.  Click on it, and you’ll be able to see your assignments.  (There’s only one up right now.)
  6. Click on the blue “Submit” button to go to the Submission page.  Select “Attach File” instead of cutting and pasting your paper into the box on the page, and double check that the file looks the way you think it should before you hit submit again.
  7. Once your paper is submitted, give it a moment or two, and then go back to your Class Portfolio tab.  You should be able to see that your assignment has been uploaded.  Additionally, there should be a column labeled “Similarity” with a percentage mark and a color bar next to it.  This is the originality report.
  8. Click on the originality report.  It may take a few minutes to generate, but eventually you’ll see a read-only version of your paper with highlighted text in areas where there may be cause for concern.  Use this as a guide to fix your paper before handing in a final version.

What Is My Class ID Number?

Class Period Class Identification Number
First Period 12499366
Second Period 12499373
Third Period 12499377

What Is The Password for TurnItIn?

We talked about this in class.  Wait for it.  If the answer doesn’t come to you, send me an email and I’ll remind you.


Once you’ve finished your annotatated bibliography, it’s time to move on to the Content Paper!

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