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SOCC34: Migrations & Transnationalisms

Fall 2023 - Dr. Patricia Landolt

What is an Annotation?

An annotation briefly summarizes the content of a source, and in particular its main argument. An annotation of an academic source, for example, typically identifies its thesis/research question/hypothesis, its major methods of investigation, and its main conclusions. Keep in mind that identifying the argument of a source is a different task than describing or listing its contents.

An annotation also critically appraises the source. For example, an annotation evaluates the relevance and value of the source to your research question. This may involve identifying how you intend to use the source in your research paper and why, and identifying important pieces of evidence you intend to incorporate into your argument.

Why should you annotate your sources?


  • Helps you manage your sources: Creating an annotated list of references provides you with a handy list of sources, along with summaries to help you remember their content as you begin writing.
  • Promotes critical reading: Annotating demands close engagement with sources. It gets you to ask questions about your sources to understand their relevance and usefulness for your research needs.
  • Enables you to draw connections: Annotating allows you to identify themes and patterns among your sources.
  • Provides context: Your annotated list of references situates your research and topic as part of continuing scholarly conversation.

How to Annotate Sources

How to Annotate Sources Electronically

Introduction to APA

APA style is a common writing and referencing style in the social and behavioural sciences. Referencing in APA style has two key elements, which must be included in your paper:

  • In-text citations: they give credit to your research sources for specific ideas used in your paper
  • Reference list: complete bibliographic information that allows your readers to find your research sources themselves

APA Style Guides

The following style guides explain how to cite sources in text and create a reference list according to APA style.

APA Citation Examples

These online resources provide detailed guidelines for APA style and include examples of in-text citations and references for different types of research sources.