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ES 601: Environmental Science Capstone

This libguide is designed to support ES601 students as they complete their library assignment and annotated bibliography.

Annotating Sources

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of your sources, in proper citation format, along with a short summary of the source and its relevance to your project.

Why create an annotated bibliography?

Two reasons. First, writing the annotations will help you to understand your sources, how they "speak to" each other, and how you might use them in your project. Second, getting your citations formatted now will make your life much easier later on!

How to create an annotated bibliography

Write out your citation using Ecology style.

Below the citation, write 1-2 paragraphs that:

  • Summarize the major findings of the source
  • Describe how the reference is relevant to the capstone project


Ecology Style

Ecology is a style by the Ecological Society of America, used primarily in it's journals Ecology, Ecological Applications, and Ecological Manuscripts. 

In Ecology style, each source is cited in-text and in the "Literature Cited" list at the end of your paper.

In-text citations

are simply the author's (LastName Pub. Year) .

If there are more than three authors, use (FirstAuthor'sName et al. Pub Year)


Works Cited List

Last name, First initial. Second initial. Date. Article title. Journal title. Volume number:first page-last page.

More information can be found at ESA's "Preparation of Manuscripts" Guide

Annotated Bibliography

When do you cite?

At the end of the day, you are writing this paper to share your original research with the world, or at least a portion of the scientific community. The data, and interpretation of other people's research is important because it gives context to what you are presenting. Their specific words are usually not important to you.

When you introduce an outside source, within a lit review or elsewhere in the paper, you want to discuss and analyze it. Why is this source important to your research? How is it similar/different from other sources as well as the research you will present.

To paraphrase is to pull the ideas from a source, and put them in your own words within a paper. This gives you more room for your own ideas and commentary.You still need to cite the source at the end of your paraphrase, to give credit for the ideas and help your reader find the source.

Quotes are tempting- they're already written for one. It seems like a neat bundle of words that could give support to your ideas. But quotes are not used often, especially in the sciences. If a quote is particularly notable, grand, interesting, and you think you could not get anything close to the same effect by paraphrasing- talk to your professor, a librarian, or someone at the learning center. If you do wind up using a quote, and most of you won't, be sure to cite it.

It is important to note that the ESA states that in Ecology style you should site only sources essential to the paper and make an effort to not cite excessively. In this instance, a quotation might be seen as an inessential citation.