Unit 2 Reflective Annotated Bilbiography

printable version: RAB ASSIGNMENT Open Question

Due date:  November 12 Sunday.

Unit 2:  Research Project Assignment RAB (1800 words)

In Unit 2 you will research and create an Annotated Bibliography based on a research question you have narrowed down. You’ll use the research you do in Unit 2 to write your assignment for Unit 3.  Unit 2 is connected to Unit 3.  It’s important to choose a research question (RQ) that you are sincerely and passionately interested in, so think carefully and thoroughly on the RQ you choose.  You will be doing a lot of reading, writing, and thinking about this RQ!

In Unit 2, you will research and create a Reflective Annotated Bibliography (RAB).  An annotated bibliography is a tool writers create when conducting research. This list of sources might contain articles, interviews, or other materials about a specific topic. For each source, there is a summary as well as other notes on that source (reflections, rhetorical analysis, and quotes). Reflective Annotated Bibliographies are helpful tools for research because they help writers keep track of multiple sources and ideas, so they can use them later in larger projects, in your case a Unit Three Genre Project. Reflective Annotated Bibliographies also help writers get a broad understanding of the topic or question they are researching. Annotated bibliographies are used in academic research– but documents like these are used by writers in almost every eld to help them make sense of their research for their future selves, their professors, their bosses, and the committees and groups they work with.



You must fine-tune your question:  the more focused your question the better.  You may start with one question but shift around.  That’s ok in the beginning, but as you start to write the Proposal, you will narrow down and refine and focus that RQ using the Know-What-Learn exercise.   



To conduct your research, you will consult a variety of print and non-print genres: newspaper and journal articles, interviews, documentaries, songs, poems, government reports, etc. You will use reliable journalism including The New York Times (free subscription with your CUNY email – we signed up at the beginning of semester), The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian. You will use news or university videos (ex Univ of Chicago), ted talks, podcasts, or interviews. You may also use creative art forms. (We will talk about genre awareness together.)

You will find 3 THREE sources.  Note: having a variety of genres — print and non-print — is important.

  1. One News Report Article or Feature Article
  2. One Opinion / Editorial piece
  3. One non-print source (tedtalk, podcast, interview, documentary or news video clip or university website video) or creative source (art, photography)


For Unit 2, our goal is to create a reflective annotated bibliography (RAB) of your 4 sources.

  • A bibliography is a list of sources that one consults in a research process.
  • A Reflective Annotated Bibliography (RAB) includes more information about each source, including a summary, important quotes, rhetorical analysis, and response.

What are the parts of a RAB?

Your annotated bibliography will be approximately 1800 words and will include the following:

  • Your research question at the top of the page.
  • An introduction: introduce your question, explain why this question intrigues you, and say what you expect to find in your research (approx. 300 words).
  • MLA bibliographic citations for three sources. Sources should be listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. 
    • You can find more on how to do MLA citations at this Purdue OWL link and throughout the Purdue OWL site.
    • You can also use Purdue OWL, Easy Bib, or Citation Machine to do your citations—you can google for the second two sites and the first is at the link above.
    • The City Tech Writing Center can also help you with citations. Send an email requesting an appointment to CityTechWritingCenter@gmail.com
  • Three source entries after each bibliographic citation (approx. 300 words). Each entry includes the following:
    • a summary of the source’s content.
    • a reflection on that source, which includes your opinion of what you’ve read.
    • a brief analysis of the author’s writing style: for example, what is the tone and choice of genre? You should also look at the purpose along with the author’s credentials (address why you think the author is credible).
    • a couple of key quotes you might want to use later.

Note: Each of these three sources will be a different genre.  Examples of genres and media include: newspaper articles, TED Talks, podcasts, personal essays, documentaries, magazine articles, scholarly articles, museum websites, interviews, video, songs, etc.

A conclusion (approx. 200-300 words): What did you learn about your topic? How did your thinking change? Why is the research you found important? Who do you think would benefit from your research? What is the importance of your research?


Write a paragraph in which you address the following questions:

  • What is the topic that interests you? Why does it interest you?
  • What do you already know about it? What do you want to explore further and find out?

This paragraph is your proposal now and later will become your RAB introduction.  Use the following template:

My research question is: ___________ (plug in your research question)? This topic interests me because ______________ (good solid explanation – 3 more sentences). I already know that ____________.  (3 more sentences). Some points that I plan to explore and find out more about are _________ (at least 3 points).

NOTICE:  Your proposal should explain a personal reasoning and connection to your RQ. Why are YOU personally interested in this RQ?  Your proposal is just that a proposal, therefore it is written BEFORE you do the research!  Your proposal should not have researching-sounding-speak.



  1. Begin researching your topic and possible sources. What are some possible sources you could consult (newspaper articles, editorials, interviews, podcasts, songs, documentaries)?
  2. We will work on each source entry one by one. Two (2) from periodical journalism newspaper. One from a non-print source.


FINALLY — The Conclusion for the Entire RAB Document


After completing all three (3) of your Source Entries — RAB Source Entry #1, #2, and #3, you will write a conclusion.


Write a conclusion paragraph for the entire RAB document.

What did you learn about your topic? How did your thinking change? Why is the research you found important?  Who or what group would be the ideal audience for your research?  Why would this audience benefit from your research?  What genre will you choose to present your research?

(at least 250 words)


What you’ll be graded on:

  • Content: Is it readable and informative? Does it teach us about the topic?
  • Research: Did you dig deep? Were you open to being surprised and contradicted? Did you look further than the first three hits on Google?
  • Genre: Remember that your three sources must be different genres. And you must have a personal interview.
  • Presentation: Basically, can someone who is not you make sense of this visually? Did you use subheads for each part (or make other formatting choices) to help a reader make sense of your document?
  • Citation: If you quote something in your introduction or conclusion that’s from one or more of your sources, be sure to cite it.
  • Grammar, sentence structure, punctuation.








Note:  Below is a template for your annotated bibliography. This will help you organize and format your annotated bibliography.

Reflective Annotated Bibliography Template  (1200-1800 words total)

The document below is designed to help you break down this assignment, so you can clearly see what is expected in each section.

Introduction (approx. 200-300 words)

  • Introduce your question.
  • Explain how or why you got interested in your question.
  • Write this in paragraph format (1-3 paragraphs).

Source Entries (approx. 200-300 words each). 

You need three entries plus your personal interview as a fourth entry.

  • Use three sources.
  • Organize the sources in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
  • Be sure each source is a different genre.
  • Include an entry for each source (direction for entries are below).
  • Include all four parts for each entry (summary, reflection on the source, analysis of the author’s choice of genre and writing style, and quotes).
  • Then your Interview Project — Include 1-2 paragraph entry that is a summary of what you learned from your interview.

How do I write an entry?

Part 1:  MLA Citation

The first part of your entry will be the MLA style bibliographic citation for your source. The citation gives the publication information, author, date, title, and so forth. There are many websites (like easybib.com) that can help you do this. Here is one example of a citation:

Yang, Andrew. “We Are Not the Virus But We Can Be Part of the Cure.” 1 Apr 2020 The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Web. 2 Apr 2020.  www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/01/andrew-yang-coronavirus-discrimination/

Part 2: Summary

For the second part of your entry (right beneath the citation), you will write a summary. This will be useful for remembering what you read. The summary should convey what the author states in the article and not your opinions. Write what you think the main point is, but also what you think the most important points are (these aren’t always the same.) This is also a good time to make note of what data, facts, and evidence the author uses to support his/her claims, and how s/he uses this evidence to arrive at conclusions.

Part 2 Summary will be approximately a paragraph long.


Part 3: Reflection 

The Reflection is perhaps the most important part, so don’t skimp here!  This is where you respond to the article and give your opinion. After reading the source, you should have some new ideas or thoughts.  I want to see your own original thoughts on the ideas the author presented.  Beware:  If all you are doing is repeating the MI’s then you are on the wrong track.  This is a not another summary—you already wrote a summary in Part 2!  Choose any from this list of questions to generate ideas for one paragraph of 4-5 sentences (your choice, no need to answer all):

  • What do you think about the writer’s points?
  • What does this source tell you about your research question?
  • Why did you select this source?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the information that the author presents? Why or why not? Be specific!
  • What did you learn from the text?  Reflect on the new information you learned and ADD your own thinking. What further ideas, questions, thoughts do you have?
  • Find a significant quote and discuss it.
  • What questions do you have about what the author is saying? What don’t you understand?
  • What other information do you need to look up to better understand this topic?
  • If you could say something to this author, what would you say?


Part 4:  Rhetorical Analysis 

Here you will consider genre, writing style, purpose, and author’s credentials.   Write one paragraph of 4-5 sentences. Use this Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet  RhetoricalGenreAnalysisWorksheet (also on Research Project Resources page)

  • * Describe the author’s writing style, tone, attitude.
  • * Consider the rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos, logos and show where the author used these or this appeal.
  • * What is the author’s intended audience and purpose (reason for writing)?  Who do you think is the author targets as his/her primary audience?  What message does the author want the reader to take away?
  • * What is the genre? Is the genre effective? Does the choice of genre make sense for what the author wants to accomplish?
  • * Occasion:  Is there some significant event happening that is the cause for this source to be written now?  Upon what occasion is this being written now?
  • * Credibility: Is the author credible? Is the source (newspaper/magazine/organization) credible?  Explain why author and source are reliable.  Google the newspaper/magazine/organization and the author to find background facts.
  • * Currency: Is this information current? Does the time it was written matter?


Part 5: Notable Quotables

Quotations: Make a note of at least THREE  direct quotes from each source that you feel really exemplifies the document’s claims or interpretations or that you feel is important or useful in some way. Be sure to put the quote in quotation marks and note the page number if a book or just the author name if an article.

“Put the quoted words here” (Smith 45).




Conclusion (approx. 300 words):

After completing all three (3) of your Source Entries — RAB Source Entry #1, #2, and #3 — each of your 3 source entries is 200-200 words — you will write a conclusion for the entire RAB document. 

  • Summarize what you found in your research.
  • Tell readers what surprised you, or how your understanding of your question deepened or changed.
  • Explain why what you learned is important.
  • Explain who you think needs to know about your research and why– be specific! (The answer cannot be “everyone needs to know.” That is too big of an audience.) Narrow it down to who needs to hear about it first or the most!
  • What genre will you choose to present your newly gained knowledge?

Here’s another way to think about the Conclusion:

What did you learn about your topic? What surprised you? How did your thinking change or how did you knowledge deepen? Why is the research you found important?  Who or what group would be the ideal audience for your research?  Why would this audience benefit from your research?  What genre will you choose to present your research?

(at least 250 words)

Here are some global comments I have for everyone on your on-going work for Source Entry writings.

On Summary writing:   

  • HINT – If an article has subheadings, use the subheads to find one main point in each subhead section.  Then gather those points together to become your summary.
  • USE the title of the source article. The words in the title are a clue to the MI of the article.  If the title is “Four Ways to Happiness,” then your summary should include a MI explaining the Four Ways.  If the title is “The Secret to Success: Hope Molecules,” then your summary should explain what Hope Molecules are and how that contributes to success.  It’s a MI!
  • When I read your summary, I should know what the article is about.  I should NOT have to read the article myself!  SO — If you have written a good summary, there will be NO need to for me to read the article.
  • OF course, you CANNOT put every single thing into the SUMMARY.  It is your job to select the MIs judiciously (using good judgement).  A summary should be proportionate in length to the length of the source.  A summary of a book is long, but a summary for a newspaper article should be a paragraph.