Essay 3

Annotated Bib and Presentation

Academic research is a complex activity that includes formulating a research question, finding and evaluating sources, using those sources in your own writing, and citing them appropriately. In this assignment you’ll walk through the steps of that process to construct an annotated bibliography, and compose a short report in an appropriate genre.

Scenario. Imagine you are part of a team working to get approval and funding for a new school or community playground. For a public presentation, your team wants to get together a list of sources that will help persuade your school committee or city council of the necessity of updating your fifty-year-old playground and also give the committee some information about the current trends in playground design. This list will be in the form of an annotated bibliography, a list of sources with a short annotation for each that lets the reader know briefly what information the source contains as well as why the source is credible. You will also provide a short summary of this information in an appropriate format. 

You will choose one of the following questions to focus on:

  • How has playground design changed over the past 50 or 100 years?
  • Why are playgrounds important for children’s development?
  • What are the latest trends in playground design?
  • What playground features are especially engaging for children?

If you think of another topic that would be valuable for this presentation, feel free to suggest it for my approval and I’ll add it to the list.

Find sources. Use strategies from pages assigned (not just google!) to find at least five good-quality sources. Use a variety of search strategies, and examine a variety of types of sources (e.g., book, newspaper article, journal article, credible website). Look for sources sufficient to give you information for your short presentation, but also include several “hefty” sources (like books or long reports) that would be useful to a reader interested in investigating the topic further. Your audience is well-educated professionals, so they will want authoritative sources: academic research, comprehensive articles from well-known magazines or newspapers, or reports from well-respected organizations.

Post these as hyperlinks on your blog. For database sources, look for a permalink to use; if not, I’d suggest printing out the source; on the blog write down author, title, database searched. For book sources, you may want to link to the Amazon page for the book, particularly if it enables you to search inside the book.

Construct Works Cited entries. Use information from the  the Purdue OWL, or BCC’s library to construct MLA-formatted bibliographic entries for your chosen sources. You may also use EasyBib or Citation machine if you wish, but be sure to check against models and edit as necessary. Make sure to use the current 8th version of MLA. Post these on your blog, with the title set as a hyperlink if the source is electronic. As you do this with each entry, delete the original hyperlink to clean up the post.

Annotate sources. Skim the sources as necessary to write a short paragraph (three or four sentences) summarizing what information can be found in the source and explaining why the source is a credible one.

Decide on a genre for your summary presentation. You may choose to write a summary report of one to two pages that could be read to your audience. You may also choose to report your information as a photo essay, powerpoint or prezi,  infographic, brochure, or video. (NOTE: If you do a powerpoint, you should include a voiceover, not just powerpoint slides.) I will give some links with info about working with these tools, but given tight time frame of course, you may want to stick with something you are familiar with. If you think of another format you’d like to use, please check with me. Note that your purpose in this presentation is informational, to provide objective information in an understandable format; use of the first person is not appropriate. Your summary should include some specific in-depth info (statistics, research conclusions, etc.) from at least two of the sources in annotated bib, acknowledging the source in the way that is customary for your chosen genre. Length should be roughly equivalent to a one to two page report: maybe ten powerpoint slides, six or eight photos, or thirty-seconds to a minute of video.

Take notes and compose your summary report. Read or skim your sources for information to use in your presentation, selecting short quotes and paraphrasing or summarizing material. Be sure to label your notes with the source from which the material is taken. Click here for some more detailed info on possible methods.

If you are composing a report, be sure to include in-text citations to label where you obtained each bit of information.

Finish up. Organize your final project with the summary followed by annotated bibliography. Post this on your blog for review.

Criteria for grading.

  • the quality of your sources
  • the accuracy and care with which you follow MLA citation guidelines (both in annotated bib and in-text citations)
  • the accuracy and usefulness of your annotations
  • the clarity and depth of information in your summary


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