Annotated Bibliography – guidance

Hi everyone,

As you know, your next assignment is coming up – your annotated bibliography is due by 10:30 April 15th.   Now that I have provided everyone feedback on their timelines, here is some guidance for the bibliography.  Please take the time to read it, and to educate yourself in Chicago style citation if you need it.   Many people failed to properly cite on their last assignment.   I did not penalize the assignments for this, but I expect proper citation on the next assignment.  It is up to you to verify that your citation procedure is correct.

Guidance on Assembling an Annotated Bibliography

1.  The goal of the assignment is to demonstrate to me that you are doing thorough, original research that is relevant to your research question, and informs the point you want to make in your presentation.  This will ultimately help you in the long run

2. Do not over-rely on general webpages for information.    Academic journals published online, government reports, nonprofit organization reports posted online are different than general webpages with unreviewed information posted.  (for an example of such a general webpage, see e.g.  It is fine to get your research off the ground with such sites, but remember, no one is checking this information.  Get facts from reputable, published sources.

3. Cite properly.  Use the quick reference page from the  Chicago Manual of Style.  Note that online journals and reports are cited differently in citations than simple websites.   Note also that I do not require a DOI number, URL or access date for a book or academic article that you have accessed online instead of in print.  I do require a URL and access date for a website or other purely online source.  Let me know if you have questions.

4. Recommendation: At least once, go to the library and look at some actual, full length, printed books on your subject.  Even flipping through them will give you a deeper and better perspective on your subject. The Baruch Library is good.  The New York Public Library Schwartzman Center, NYPL Science, Industry and Business Library, and Brooklyn Public Library Main Branch are works of art.

4. Here is information to include in your annotated bibliography (thank you to Ben for compiling).  Include:

  1. A full citation of the source, in a Chicago style of your choice (see above):
    • This should be easy if you’re using Zotero: right-click the source in your library and choose “generate bibliography from selected item.”
  2. A concise, selective summary of the source
    • by concise, I mean 150-350 words
    • by selective, I mean written with a particular use in mind — e.g. summarizing a particular argument the source makes that you wish to agree or disagree with, or summarizing a particular exhibit within the source that you wish to analyze.
  3. A concise yet detailed rationale for why and how you intend to use the source
    • this should relate to the selection made for the summary, and either make it explicit or begin doing the work of (dis)agreeing or analysis.
    • by concise, I again mean 150-350 words
    • by detailed, I mean to avoid single-sentence rationales, such as “I want to quote the statistics here.” Why are those statistics valuable? What will you do with them once they’re shown? Don’t assume that any mere data speaks for itself, or says the same thing to every audience; use the rationale to begin writing the follow-up paragraph.

There are many online resources and examples for you to consult, e.g. and from Purdue, or from the University of Maryland.

4. Share information with your colleagues.  There is a great deal of overlap among your topics.  This is not a competition.   Share information, ideas, divide up approaches, run things by me and each other.

5. Use assigned readings from the class, and try to make interesting connections between them and your topic.  I want you to incorporate our readings into your presentations and research.

6.  Do your research and compile your annotated bibliography with your final presentation/paper in mind.  In both deliverables, you will need to make a strong, clear, original point that is relevant in some way to Shaping the Future of NYC in an era of climate change.  The relevance can be constructed in various ways.  Again, if you are unsure, speak up!

7. In response to student concerns, I have reduced the page requirement for the final paper to a minimum of five single space pages.  Make them mean something!

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