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Annotation Tips - Writing Lab Tips & Strategies: Home


Marking up a passage you are reading is a great way to encourage understanding.  However, if you do not own the book, or do not feel comfortable writing in it, you have other options.

1.  Use sticky notes.  You can even color-coordinate, assigning certain colors to certain topics.

2.  Make photo copies of the pages, with room to write in the margins.

3.  Take notes on a separate sheet of paper.

By Jasmine Hopkins and Anna Belcher

Annotated Text I Annotated Text Comic II

By Jasmine Hopkins and Anna Belcher

Personal Reflection Steps

Purpose:  Relating an item to your own experiences helps you understand and remember better

1.  Mark any place (with a symbol or different color) that reminds you of something in your life or something you already know.

2.  Write yourself a note in the margin as a reminder.

Annotation Definition

An annotation is a note that is made while reading any form of text. This may be as simple as underlining or highlighting passages. 

Preparation Steps

Purpose:  To understand the author's point of view, to stay focused and involved with the text, to monitor and improve comprehension.



If you are struggling to understand the author's idea or main point, re-read the first and last pages or paragraphs--the introduction and conclusion.


Spot the thesis, and make it stand out (underline it, highlight it, draw stars around it).  Rewrite it in your own words to make sure you understand it.


Circle or underline words you don't understand.  Look up the definitions of these words and make sure they make sense to you.  Put the definitions in your own words.  Try to minimize them so they can fit on the page.  If possible, write a one word definition right above the word you don't understand.


Underline all key ideas.  Look for ideas that are repeated or emphasized.  Look for personal examples, expansive descriptions and the use of other sources.  Also look for anything that makes the author's point clear to you.


Put the underlined ideas or phrases into your own words in the margins.  (This forces you to process the information).  Locate significant quotes.  Look for clues about the organization of the text.  Write a short summary of each paragraph or main idea beside it so you can quickly review what the author has said.  Draw graphs, charts, diagrams, or sketches if it helps you understand or remember a main point.

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The Learning Center Hours:

Monday - Friday: 9:00 - 4:30

Writing Lab Walk-In Hours:

Monday                 10am-6pm

Tuesday                10am-8pm

Wednesday           12pm-6pm

Thursday               12pm-6pm

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Email us your paper ( along with the specific description of the assignment.  We will comment on the paper in regards to purpose, organizational structure, internal organization, format, and patterns of grammatical error.

Writing Lab Purpose

The goal of the Writing Lab is to equip students with the communication tools necessary to develop stronger academic writing.  Tutors do not correct, revise or edit student writing.  They aim to guide and empower students toward becoming better independent writers.  The Writing Lab is a student-to-student help available to all students desiring help with writing, including ESL tutoring.  All services are offered at no cost to students.

The Writing Lab is available to students from any discipline for help with any stage of the writing process.

Tutors focus on assignment fulfillment, content, organization, and areas for which suggestions on improvement can be made.

The Writing Lab does not proofread papers; tutors help students learn how to recognize problems or errors and self-edit.  Help is available with MLA, APA and other formatting as well as with grammar skills.

Writing resources (style/formatting manuals) and skills software are available for student use as well.

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Ask Yourself:

1.  What is the author's point of view and/or main idea:

Does the author have reliable research?

Does the author have a solid argument?  Are there contradictions?

2.  Are there any key phrases or quotes that stuck out and what do they mean?  (Think critically!)

3.  How can I relate to what I just read?  Can I apply any of these principles to my life?

4.  What is my opinion about what I just read?  Do I agree with the author?  Why or why not?

So, What's an Annotated Bibliography?

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotation is a note, so an annotated bibliography is a bibliography with notes about each of your sources.  

Why Am I Being Asked to Include an Annotated Bibliography?

This is helpful for anyone else who wants to do research on the same subject.  Other researchers can easily see which of your sources will pertain to the work they are doing.  The annotated bibliography also proves that you have read and understood your sources.

What Should My Annotated Bibliography Include?

If you are asked to include an annotated bibliography for a paper, keep track of what type of information each of your sources provides you as you take notes and begin writing your paper.  For each title in your bibliography, you will add a few sentences stating the benefit of each source.  You may also talk about the usefulness or limitations of the source, the point-of-view of the author, or the reliability of the author.