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INT 101 Trogden

last modified Oct 05, 2015 01:04 PM

This guide contains information and resources to help you complete your Annotated Bibliography Assignment. You should be able to find all of the information you need for your assignment from here. If you need any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact Amy Gratz (info at right). 

Databases, Journals, and Articles

Small graphic of the Database-Journal-Article poster created 2014

Databases - Searchable electronic warehouses that contain a wide variety of information sources from multiple publishers. Most material is also available in print format.

Journals - Subscription publications that contain scholarly articles and information on similar topics. Most are peer-reviewed.

Articles - A relatively short, written work in a journal, be it scholarly or popular.

Brainstorming Your Topic

When you first start working on an assignment, it can be very helpful to spend a few minutes thinking about your topic and where you want to go with the assignment. For some topics, you might need to start by doing pre-research, where you look for general background information on your topic to learn a little more. This background information then helps you focus your search and choose a topic to write about. Try some of the following strategies if you're not sure where to start:

  • If you don't have a topic in mind, try looking at CQ Researcher or TOPICsearch, or just looking at recent news, to generate ideas
  • Try to imagine what words someone answering your research question might use
  • Look up synonyms and related topics or phrases
  • Try working with a partner – getting a different perspective is often invaluable
  • Identify any common misunderstandings or related topics that you DON’T want in your results

Evaluating Sources OverThink

There are several other criteria for deciding whether or not to use a source in your paper. Start with the C.R.A.P. test to do a basic evaluation:

Currency: is the information recent enough for your topic?
Relevancy: does the information relate to your topic, either directly or indirectly?
Authority: who wrote the information, and are they an authoritative source?
Purpose: what was the intent of the author when writing this information?

Once you have done a general overview of the source, you will need to do a more in-depth evaluation of the source information. At this point, you will need to do a close, critical reading of the source. Most importantly, you need to apply your own critical thinking skills: does the author's argument make sense? can you think of any counter-arguments or points they failed to consider?

Image "OverThink" by Lori Semprevio, 2010. Used under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Find Appropriate Sources

Scholarly Articles:

Discovery — an EBSCO service allowing you to search multiple databases and the library catalog simultaneously. You may be able to find all the sources you need here, but since it includes articles from every discipline, it may be difficult to focus your search to only relevant articles

Databases included in Discovery, but worth searching separately for this assignment:

  • Education Full Text — Articles published in the field of education, including topics on a wide range of contemporary issues.
  • ERIC — Covers all aspects of education and educational research, includes both abstracts of published and unpublished sources on thousands of educational topics. 
  • Sociological Collection — Provides information on all areas of sociology, including social behavior, community development, culture and social structure. Included here because several potential topics for this assignment intersect with the field of education and the field of sociology.

Databases NOT included in Discovery:

  • Education Journals — Covers not only the literature on primary, secondary, and higher education but also special education, home schooling, adult education, and hundreds of related topics.
  • Social Science Journals — Covers many topics including urban studies, family studies, and international relations. Included here because several potential topics for this assignment intersect with the field of education and the field of sociology.
  • ABI/INFORM Complete — Provides access to articles in the fields of business and economics. This may be useful if your topic looks at the business aspects of education (salaries, tenure, organization, etc.) or the economic aspects of education (costs of failing schools, education funding, etc.).

Other Sources:

U.S. Department of Education - the website for the federal Department of Education, where you can find information about the state of education in the country, statistical data, education laws, and more.

Statistical Abstract of the United States — A resource that includes authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States. 

TEDTalks - TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. On, the best talks and performances from TED and partners are available to the world, for free. These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. (Description taken from

ProQuest Newspapers - Provides full-text access to newspapers from around the world. These can be a good source of information about current issues and proposed solutions.

Nonprofit Organizations - search online for non-profit organizations that are interested in education, such as Teach for America or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Many of these organizations will provide summaries of current issues in education, and may also have statistics and reports on solving these problems.

Citing Sources

An online guide on APA style is available here. You can also find most of the basics in your Little Bear Handbook.

A few notes on URLs and DOIs when citing journal articles:

  1. If a DOI is available, provide that instead of a URL.
  2. If no DOI is available, provide a link to the journal website if available. You will probably have to do an online search to make sure your article is available there, but APA style prefers this URL when available, if no DOI is provided.
  3. If there is no DOI, and the article is not available via the journal's website, provide the stable URL or permalink for the database where you found the article (note that you may have to email the article to yourself to get this). DO NOT copy/paste the URL from your address bar - that URL is temporary, and generated with your search. It will not work for longer than 30 minutes or so.

If you need any help citing a source, or would like to have someone double-check your citations, please contact a librarian through our Ask Jack service!

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