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WR 362: Science Writing

Resources for a course on popular science writing.

Where can I get more help?

Contact the OSU Libraries Information Desk

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (references cited), such as books, journals, newspapers, magazines, web pages, etc., each of which is followed a summary and evaluation of each item.

What is the purpose of an annotated bibliography?

Depending on the assignment, the annotated bibliography may serve a number of purposes. This includes but is not limited to:

  • describe the content and focus of the book or article
  • suggest the source's usefulness to your research
  • evaluate its method, conclusions, or reliability
  • record your reactions to the source

The most common type of annotated bibliographies is "combination", which summarize the article and evaluates it. I expected for you to use the "combination" approach. More information about this can be found through the following link:

Reading Tips

Learning how to read academic literature, both articles and books, takes practices.  Here are some tips to help you become a more focused reader:

  • Read with your question in mind (usually your thesis or research question)
  • Write a short "take home message" about the significance of the article as it relates to your research question.  Then it is easy to transition from these notes to your literature review draft.
  • Re-read articles - but with new questions in mind, not because you forgot the contents of the article.

NY Times Topic Ideas

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a popular way to brainstorm about your topic or to take notes about an article or presentation.  Start with the main topic in the center and then think of a variety of related subtopics that you want to explore.  Mind maps allow you to be flexible and to see alternative ideas you may not initially have considered.

Mind Map by Xmind

You can either use paper and pencil or you can use a variety of free or commercial products to create mind maps.  See some suggested options below.  (This mind map was made with the free version of XMind.)

Note taking Tables

Some of us think in a more linear way and find it useful to enter notes in tables rather than in mind or concept maps.  This table is one illustration of what types of information you can gather from the articles or books that you read.  If this table is helpful, you can download the handout version below.

Notes Table

Reference Sources for Choosing a Topic