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History of Human Rights: Citing & Writing

Turabian / Chicago Style

For this class, use the Turabian notes-bibliography style. Copies of the newest (8th) edition of "Turabian" are on Reserve at the InfoDesk and in the reference collection in the Research Commons. You can also try this online Turabian Quick Guide, but it may not answer all the questions you have about citations, especially for primary sources.

Debby Ellis Writing Center

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Creating annotated bibliographies

Skim each article or the introduction to each book before you decide to use it. You may decide that it wasn't as appropriate for your topic as you had originally thought. If you do decide to use it in your bibliography, take notes as you read to help you when you go back to summarize it. You may want to keep track of the following details:

Thesis: What is the author's thesis or main point? You may find a one or two sentence thesis near the beginning of the piece, or a section labeled "Conclusions" near the end. 

Methodology: How does the author support his or her work? Is the evidence weak or strong?

Special features: What makes this piece particularly interesting or useful? Are there charts, pictures, or tables that are helpful? Is the list of references comprehensive and up-to-date?

Audience: For whom was the piece written? Also consider the tone and language used to decide if the piece was written for a popular or a scholarly audience.

Create a complete citation for each work you have read. Some writers like to use note cards to keep track of their reading, while others prefer to use citation management software like Zotero or EasyBib. 

Write your annotations. An annotation should be relatively short, generally less than 150 words, and should not repeat any information found in the citation itself.

Depending on your assignment and the focus of your bibliography, your annotation could be descriptive or evaluative. A descriptive annotation describes the item and sometimes summarizes its main points. An evaluative annotation compares the item to other items on the same topic and tells other researchers whether or not it is useful or important.

Finally, assemble your annotated bibliography. Depending on the number of citations you wish to include, you may want to divide your bibliography into more specific subtopics to make it easier to read. As you decide which works to include, remember the overall focus of your bibliography and try to include only works that will help your readers to understand the subject.

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