Annotated Bibiography

The annotated bibliography is designed to collect the research you conduct over the semester.
The bibliography will help you track your research, make initial connections between your
sources, ensure that your research in some way contributes to your research question, and help
you keep your research organized.

The annotated bibliography must:

1. include the most current version of your research question

2. include 7 sources; please number the sources. Given the types of projects most of you will be
working on, I would expect to see mostly sources from peer-reviewed journals, trade publications
or from government or credible research center sites. A few newspaper, magazine or blog
sources might be relevant, but I do not expect those sources to be included in the annotated
bibliography. Sources such as blogs, magazines, and newspapers serve to establish relevance and
timeliness of the research, and they do not need to be fully articulated in the annotated
bibliography (I will expect to see them in the references page of the proposal project).

3. include one summary paragraph and one evaluation paragraph for each entry (see sample)

4. be presented using APA citation style

I will grade the assignment based on the quality, relevance, and currency of sources, the quality of
summaries, and on how well the evaluation paragraph aligns with the current version of your research
question and with other sources in the bibliography. If you are listing sources in the bibliography that are
not closely related to the most current version of the research question, the evaluation paragraph should
include how the source was initially useful (how it helped you modify the research question to its current

Sample annotated bibliographies

Anderson, M. J. (2010). Diminishing the legal impact of negative social attitudes toward acquaintance rape victims. New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal, 13(4), 644–664.

The article provides a great explanation of the history of rape laws and argues for changes in the law to counteract the effects of older laws; even as those laws have been replaced or modified, there is still a tendency to judge women based on older standards. The author focuses on the following areas: corroboration requirement, a prompt complaint requirement, a resistance requirement, a chastity requirement, a marital rape exemption, and a cautionary instruction warning judicial decision makers to treat a rape complainant’s testimony with suspicion (647). The author suggests changes to the law, especially to marital rape exemption laws, which to this day influence notions of consent that affect acquaintance rape victims.

This article serves as background for how rape has been historically characterized in courts of law, which informs how media narratives might assign blame and responsibility in reporting. The article clarifies why consent remains a challenging term to define, why notions of chastity still lead to victim blaming, and why the notion of rape is that of stranger rape, rather than acquaintance rape. An analysis of passive and active voice might still reflect some of the previous legal understandings of rape and assault.

Bohner, G. (2001). Writing about rape: Use of the passive voice and other distancing text features as an expression of perceived responsibility of the victim. British Journal of Social Psychology, 40(4), 515–529.

This article reports on a study using t-test and ANOVA statistical analyses to test for correlations between the use of passive voice in describing an instance of rape and attitudes that assign blame to the victims of rape. The researchers showed silent clips from a television show and movie depicting a rape scene, with one clip showing more details that align with common “rape myths” about the responsibility of the victim in the rape. The researchers then asked study participants to 1) write descriptions of the rape scene; 2) write a newspaper-style headline for their descriptions; 3) answer a questionnaire about their perception of the victim’s and perpetrator’s level of responsibility in the rape; and 4) complete a survey to test the level of agreement with rape myths. The researchers found that the use of passive voice to describe the rape itself correlated with other indicators of victim-blaming attitudes. The researchers also found that participants used passive voice when referring to the rape itself significantly more than they used passive voice to describe other actions by either the perpetrator or the victim immediately before or after the rape.

This article demonstrates how statistical analyses can reveal correlations between grammatical voice usage in descriptions of rape and attitudes about victim and perpetrator responsibility. This article also provided a good description of the various reasons one might use passive voice when reporting a story about a rape. For example, in addition to explicitly or implicitly avoiding the assignment of blame to the perpetrator, the author might want to 1) avoid assigning blame to someone who has yet to be tried in court; 2) distance oneself from the upsetting elements of the story; or 3) empathize with the victim by making the victim the grammatical subject (if not the semantic subject) of the reported actions. Despite these possible motivations, however, the researchers did find a significant correlation between victim-blaming attitudes and the use of passive voice.

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