Purposes and Process

The annotated bibliography requirement has a few related purposes: 1) to help you gain in-depth knowledge of scholarly conversations relevant to your thesis topic; 2) to help you identify specific concepts, methods, etc. that could be useful to your thesis; 3) to help you work toward a section/chapter of your thesis in which you situate your project in a literature review. As these purposes indicate, you must have a working idea of your thesis topic in order to develop an effective annotated bibliography.

Because it is a capstone requirement, the annotated bibliography cannot be approved until you have completed 18 credit hours in the program. Also, it must be submitted to and approved by the program director before you begin taking thesis hours.

You will likely be able to work toward the annotated bibliography in ENC 6720 Research Methods in Rhetoric & Composition. Some students have developed their annotated bibliographies as part of an independent study or directed research course.

In your last semester of regular coursework, you should identify a thesis director and, if possible, two advisory committee members from among the Rhetoric & Composition faculty (one member can come from another department or institution if approved by the program director and Graduate Studies). Your director and other committee members will then guide you in identifying scholarly sources from the field that relate to the thesis topic you plan to pursue; then you will work with your chair to develop and complete an annotated bibliography of these sources before submitting this via email to the program director. Because your chair may ask you to review the annotations before submitting for approval, plan on completing a draft of the bibliography at least a month before the term ends. Although you could technically complete the annotated bibliography over the Summer term before you enroll in thesis hours, this is not ideal, as the faculty on your committee might not be available to assist you over the Summer, and  because you could better use this time to work on your thesis proposal.


Annotated Bibliography Requirements

Here are the specific requirements for the annotated bibliography:

  • Must include at least 15 sources and annotations that do not simply summarize sources but evaluate them and point to how you plan to use them to develop your thesis; beyond this, feel free to customize the bibliography in ways that make it most useful to you going forward
  • Must be prefaced by a brief (1-2 page) framing statement that overviews your thesis topic and approach and that explains how the clusters of sources included relate to this topic; this framing statement provides both a context and rationale for your bibliography and can preview, in a truncated form, the rhetorical framing moves you will make in the thesis proposal
  • Must be developed in consultation with your thesis chair and, ideally, other advisory committee members

If done well, your annotations will prove useful in developing your thesis proposal.

Sample Annotated Bibliographies

Use the following student annotated bibliographies (included with permission) more as examples than as models to follow strictly:


Other Resources