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Introduction to library research for INR 508 activity

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is often assigned to help you synthesize and evaluate research you've collected. In its simplest form, it is an alphabetical list, with each entry including citation of a source followed by a short paragraph of description. Your professor will let you know which citation style to use, often Chicago or Turabian, APA, or MLA. The paragraph will include a description of the contents of the source, including the main ideas or arguments. This should be concise. It is an opportunity for you to reflect on the source and put its main ideas in your own words. Beyond this, you may also:

  • Evaluate of the author's background and expertise and credibility to write on the topic.
  • Describe author's theoretical approach and/or research methodology
  • Describe the author's findings or arguments inform your thesis or argument  
  • Situate this source in relation to other sources you're citing; why is this source important? How does it advance your research?

The University of New South Wales, Syndey provides a description of the annotated bibliography. At the bottom of the page check out how it dissects an annotation, showing how one might include the above analysis.


Selecting Sources for an Annotated Bibliography

Professors also assign annotated bibliographies to help students think about how sources relate to each other as well as with the student's thesis or research question. A key function of the annotated bibliography is to give students an opportunity to select, among many sources they've found through their research, the most significant or important. This means that you should find and skim the abstracts, introductions, and/or conclusions of numerous sources, ideally taking notes, before selecting those that most directly inform your thesis statement or help you answer your research question.

Your sources should help you describe points of contention, controversy, areas of consensus or agreement, and questions still to be answered. The annotation can include your analysis of how the various sources interact.

More about selecting, evaluating, and summarizing sources from the University of Toronto Writing Center. 


Searching for articles by subject matter: search tools and strategies

The library offers a number of databases that could be useful in your international relations research, and there are several freely available search tools and strategies that may also be useful, depending on your information need. There are also other sources of data and information , so please do not hesitate to contact the library if you would like to discuss your research. 

The tools suggested in this guide include JSTOR, the library's EBSCO article search, Google Scholar, Google advanced search limiting to a specific domain, and a Google advanced search within thinktank websites. 





Google Scholar


Google Advanced Search

This video shows how to use Google Advanced Search to do a domain-level search, such as .mil for US military resources on your topic. It also shows how to use a country-level domain to search resources created within a country related to your topic, and how to leverage Google Translate and the Google Translate browser add-on to get an imperfect translation of coverage of your topic in another language. 


Harvard's Think Tank Search

Finding E-books

If getting to campus to check out books is not possible, you can limit your library catalog search to e-books held by Salve Regina. The library provides access to more than 600,000 ebooks to complement our print collection of 140,000 print books. The below video shows how to do a keyword, title, or subject heading search, and limit to e-books only, and how to remove certain books, such as Congressional hearings.   

Director of Library Services

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Dawn Emsellem
McKillop Library
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(401) 341-2336