An annotated bibliography is a list of potential research sources pertaining to a specific topic. However, it is more than just a list of titles, because researchers evaluate and write concise descriptions or annotations for every item. Compiling an annotated bibliography is an excellent way to become acquainted with the material available on a particular topic; it forces the researcher to review the current literature and to seek out pertinent sources. Each potential source must be carefully read to determine its relevance to the selected topic. In addition to the bibliographic detail, each item in an annotated bibliography includes a summary of the main argument(s), an outline of the significant findings or conclusions, and a brief description of the research methods used (if applicable). Begin by identifying and defining the scope of your selected anthropological research topic. In doing so, try to answer these questions: What research question are you trying to examine? What is the locale for this research? What is the timeframe? Once you have clearly delineated your topic, you can begin searching for pertinent sources. You must locate a minimum of seven (7) sources, and at least three (3) of these must be contemporary sources. Each annotation must be at least one paragraph or about 200 words. All of the sources selected must be academic anthropological sources, that is, they must be written by anthropologists and appear in academic books or in professional anthropological publications. Although you must not include the course textbooks in your annotated bibliography, the “References” section of Cultural Anthropology (4th Canadian ed.) may be a useful starting point. You are also encouraged to consult Athabasca University Library’s online journal databases (e.g., JSTOR) to find sources. You may use several articles contained in one book as separate annotations—as long as each article is written by a different author, but you may not use different chapters in a single-author book as separate annotations. Your annotated bibliography assignment must include the following components: an introductory paragraph that clearly defines your selected anthropological research topic; a complete bibliographic citation of each of the seven (or more) sources selected; and a one-paragraph annotation of each of the above sources that includes a description of the purpose of the book or article, the methodology it used (i.e., how data was gathered and how it was used to develop the author’s arguments), the major conclusions, and any significant points relevant to the research topic selected.
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