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Research and Citations Worksheet The purpose of your Literature Review is to collect background information on your project topic. You will identify at least 6 sources (at least 3 books, journals or magazines, and at least 3 primary internet sources) and create an Annotated Bibliography. An Annotated Bibliography is a brief summary of sources, such as books, journals or articles, about your topic, accompanied by proper citation. The following pages contain useful information on determining whether an information source is primary or secondary, evaluating the quality of a source, and deciding whether a source is relevant to your project topic. In addition, there are details about how to cite your sources using the MLA style, as well as a sample Annotated Bibliography. Primary and Secondary Sources • Primary Sources are original documents containing first-hand information about a topic. Different fields of study may use different types of primary sources. Common examples of a primary source are: - Diaries - Interviews - Letters - Original works of art - Photographs - Works of literature •

Secondary Sources contain commentary on, or discussion about, a primary source. The most important feature of secondary sources in that they offer an interpretation of information gathered from primary sources. Common examples of a secondary source are: - Biographies - Dissertations - Indexes - Abstracts - Bibliographies (used to locate a primary source) - Journal articles

Information Resources Librarians The most valuable resource at the library is the librarian. Librarians are specially trained to help you organize your search and find information. Start your Literature Review process by talking to the librarian at your public library, or when you visit your university library with your EnvironMentors chapter. They’ll help you get started, give you ideas for sources, and help direct you to these sources. Key Words and Bibliographies A good place to start your search is to identify key words related to your project topic and research question and look them up in an encyclopedia, dictionary, and/or textbook. Use the bibliography at the end of the encyclopedia articles or textbook entries to find sources for further research. Ask your librarian to help you search scientific journals for articles that might be relevant to your project topic. You can also use internet search engines to find more information from the websites of environmental organizations, professional societies, government agencies, etc.

Use the following table to help you evaluate whether your sources have quality information: Adapted from: Science Buddies (

Good Information

Bad Information

Credible source

Source with unknown or poor credibility

Information is still relevant

Out of date information


Biased toward a single point of view

Free of errors

Prone to errors

Properly cites the original source of all content

Does not cite original source of content

Easy for others to obtain

Difficult for others to obtain

Finally, for each source you review, use the following table to take brief notes on what you learned and whether it relates to your topic. Remember that you are required to include 6 sources in your Annotated Bibliography (feel free to include more), but you may have to read many more to find 6 that are relevant to your topic. What You Read

How it Relates to Your Project Topic

Citation Style Guidelines (MLA) Adapted from: Purdue Online Writing Lab (

Type of Source

In-text Citation

Book with 1 or 2 authors

(Gillespie & Lerner, 2000)

Book with 3 or more authors

(Wysocki et al., 2004)

A work in an anthology, reference or collection

(Harris, 2000)

A government publication

(U.S. GAO, 2006)

Article in a magazine

(Poniewozik, 2000)

Article in a newspaper Article in an academic journal

(Krugman, 2007)

Entire website

(Felluga, 2006)

Page on a website

(, 2006)

E-mail to you

(Kunka, personal communication) (Purdue, personal communication)

Personal interview

(Bagchi, 1996)


Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn, 2000. Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2004. Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34. United States. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO). Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs. Washington: GPO, 2006. Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too-Close Call." Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71. Krugman, Andrew. "Fear of Eating." New York Times 21 May 2007 late ed.: A1. Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 15.1 (1996): 41-50. Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. 28 Nov. 2003. Purdue University. 10 May 2006 <>. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." 10 May 2006 < how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html>. Kunka, Andrew. "Re: Modernist Literature." Email to the author. 15 Nov. 2000. Purdue, Pete. Personal Interview. 1 Dec. 2000.

Sample Annotated Bibliography (MLA) Reproduced from:Purdue Online Writing Lab (

Stem Cell Research: An Annotated Bibliography Holland, Suzanne. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Boston: MIT Press, 2001. This is the annotation of the above source. In this example, I am following MLA guidelines for the bibliographic information listed above. If I was really writing an annotation for this source, I would now be offering a brief summary of what this book says about stem cell research. After a brief summary, it would be appropriate to assess this source and offer some criticisms of it. Does it seem like a reliable and current source? Why? Is the research biased or objective? Are the facts well documented? Who is the author? Is she qualified in this subject? Is this source scholarly, popular, some of both? The length of your annotation will depend on the assignment or on the purpose of your Annotated Bibliography. After summarizing and assessing, you can now reflect on this source. How does it fit into your research? Is this a helpful resource? Too scholarly? Not scholarly enough? Too general/specific? Since "stem cell research" is a very broad topic, has this source helped you to narrow your topic? Senior, K. "Extending the Ethical Boundaries of Stem Cell Research." Trends in Molecular Medicine. 7 (2001):5-6. Not all annotations have to be the same length. For example, this source is a very short scholarly article. It may only take a sentence or two to summarize. Even if you are using a book, you should only focus on the sections that relate to your topic. Not all annotated bibliographies assess and reflect; some merely summarize. That may not be the most helpful for you, but, if this is an assignment, you should always ask your instructor for specific guidelines. Wallace, Kelly. "Bush Stands Pat on Stem Cell Policy." CNN. 13 August 2001. 17 August 2001. Notice that in this example, I have chosen a variety of sources: a book, a scholarly journal, and a web page. Using a variety of sources can help give you a broader picture of what is being said about your topic. You may want to investigate how scholarly sources are treating this topic differently than more popular sources. But again, if your assignment is to only use scholarly sources, then you will probably want to avoid magazines and popular web sites. Notice that the bibliographic information above is proper MLA format (use whatever style is appropriate in your field) and the annotations are in paragraph form. Note also that the entries are alphabetized by the first word in the bibliographic entry. If you are writing an Annotated Bibliography with many sources, it may be helpful to divide the sources into categories. For example, if I was putting together an extensive Annotated Bibliography for stem cell research, I may divide the sources into categories such as ethical concerns, scholarly analyses, and political ramifications. For more examples, a quick search at a library or even on the Internet should produce several examples of annotated bibliographies in your area.

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing Reproduced from: Purdue Online Writing Lab (

What are the differences between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing? Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author. Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly. Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material. Where to Get Started? Once you have chosen a project topic, you need to start your initial research. A great place to start is the Encyclopedia of Earth ( You can search for your topic within the Encyclopedia of Earth (EoE) by going to the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Topicsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tab and clicking on your topic of interest to see all the articles the EoE has to offer. The advantage of using the EoE, over Wikipedia, is that all the articles on the EoE are peer-edited and written by experts in the field. This will make all information in their articles credible for you to use in your Background Research Paper. Once you have read an EoE article on your topic, you can go to the News section of the EnvironMentors Portal (the third tab at the top of the EnvironMentors Portal page) to find out the latest information on your topic. Articles from the EoE and an environmental news article should be your first Annotated Bibliography entries.


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