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PO 498: Political Science Comp Exam 2022: Annotated Bibliographies

This guide provides resources for the Political Science Comp Exam.

Assignment Details

Introductory Paragraph:

Your annotated bibliography should be introduced by a brief description of how you went about using various technological tools to locate appropriate sources.  This should be a kind of “roadmap” indicating how you located the sources relating to your assigned book.  You should specify what your research topic is in some detail.  A formal thesis statement is not necessary.  


Your annotated bibliography should be a listing of the sources reviewing literature relating to the topic of the book assigned. You should select sources that relate to the topic of a hypothetical research paper that you are preparing to write.  You should explain how your selected sources relate to your stated research paper topic.  The number and variety of sources will vary, but we would generally expect that students would have at least 8 sources, of which at least five (5) should be scholarly journal articles. For each article, indicate whether it is scholarly or popular in nature and list the keywords you used to search the database. At least five articles must come from peer-reviewed, scholarly journals. Please be sure to differentiate between popular and scholarly periodicals, giving priority to the latter. The books and articles on your annotated bibliography should have been published in the last ten years


Make sure your citation for each source is complete and correct according to one of the standard citation styles. See the Citation Styles page for additional assistance.

Keyword Strategy Chart Example

Keyword Strategy Chart:


Keyword 1

Keyword 2

Keyword 3

Key Concepts











"Rwandan genocide"







Broader or narrower terms and/or controlled vocabulary



"Political Science"


East Africa

Click on the PO 498 Comps Activity 2022 link, but before entering any data, select File, Make a copy and select where in your Google Drive you want to store the document. Then you can fill in the blanks.


The annotation for each source should be original, in your own words, and should include:  a summary of the source’s thesis and substance, a description of how each source relates to the assigned book, an assessment of the source’s contribution to the major themes in the assigned text for your major. 

The annotation for each source should also indicate:  why you chose this source, how you determined that the item was a worthy source of information, how reliable the source appears to be and why, whether this source represents a particular epistemology or ideological bias, how you would incorporate this source’s information into a review of the literature.  Annotations are written in paragraph form and are single-spaced.

Annotations will generally include the following:

  • Summary: Summarize the information given in the source. Note how the source relates to the assigned book and assess the sources' contribution to the major themes in the assigned text. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? What questions are raised? What is the goal of this source? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?
  • Evaluation/Assessment:  Note the intended audience. Is this source credible? Who wrote it? What are their credentials? Who is the publisher? Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective?  What is the nature of the analysis; theoretical, historical or empirical? Qualitative or quantitative?  What evidence does the author use to support the thesis?  Is the data reliable and verifiable?
  • Reflection/Reaction: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. State your reaction and any additional questions you have about the information in your source.  Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic? Compare each source to other sources in your AB in terms of its usefulness and thoroughness in helping answer your research question.