This is a college level course-- ergo researching and writing a quality college-level annotated bibliography is an appropriate college level activity.

  • Your annotated bib should investigate a distinct topics in physics (that includes astrophysics, cosmology, biophysics, chemicalphysics, geophysics etc...) or engineering. That means you have to go right to the source people.
  • Each of your sources MUST be peer-reviewed journals in science OR a primary study/report/analysis or similar from an otherwise outstanding source such as an outstanding research university or government agency.

  • For those of you who are thinking "YIKES" HERE are some examples from years back. You sharp eyed folk may notice that a VERY few of those sources are not technically from peer reviewed journals. It is possible to find a study published by a well-regarded university of government agencies that is entirely appropriate. If you aren't sure if your source is appropriate CHECK WITH YMG&H INSTRUCTOR SOONEST!

    • Primary sources are journals such as:

      • Physics Letters

      • Astronomical/Astrophysical Journal

      • Nature (often easier to read)

      • Science (often easier to read)

      • Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

      • New England Journal of Medicine

      • The Lancet

    • Examples of (unacceptable) non-primary sources include:
      • National Geographic

      • Scientific American

      • Science News

      • Periodicals/Newspapers/General interest magazines such as Time, The Seattle Times
      • Various and sundry web pages that publish general interest science

I actually LOVE doing research like this. If this assignment intimidates you a bit, come see me after school sometime and I'll be HAPPY to show you how to do primary source research!


  1. Citation - Written in MLA format (I'm hoping you have your favorite link for doing this. Personally I'm kinda fond of "Son of Citation Machine" and the link to that site is HERE)

  2. A summary of the article which should be about half a page (if you don't know what that means, ask your English teacher)

  3. An explanation of why you chose that source and/or why it was appropriate for your research. Typically between 2 - 4 quality paragraphs.

  4. An explanation of why your source was credible. Consider using the CRAP analysis outlined HERE. This is typically 1/2 to 1 page in length.

  5. (PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS A NEW ADDITION for this class. The example papers shown on on my chemistry site do not include this... MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO INCLUDE THIS PART IN YOUR PAPER) A personal reflection on that source (2 - 4 quality paragraphs). Possible reflective questions might include:

    • What struck you about that source? Do you agree with the author, disagree... what?

    • Why did you choose to include it in your paper?

    • Was the source well written and helpful or did you struggle to pull gems of information out of a morass of detail?

      • (NOTE: This is a huge part of your paper. If you toss in a source because it has an impressive pedigree but can't elaborate on why it's an appropriate source or otherwise reflect on that source it will be obvious)

      • (NOTE 2: You will likely go through a dozen or more sources before finding one that works.... that's ok, in fact that's all part of it. DO NOT just pick one and try to make it work)


RUBRIC FROM PAST YEARS IS HERE (I'll modify that a bit and we'll talk about that later this week)

QUALITY RESEARCH plus STRONG personal interest = Awesome paper!


  • Your research paper should show clear and convincing evidence of your interest in your topic. If it is interesting/exciting to you then it will be interesting/exciting to read it. If it ain't, it won't.

  • Your research paper should follow ALL MLA conventions as to format and citations.