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HIST 4603 - Research Seminar: Integration at Ouachita Baptist University: Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Sources

Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Sources

Due on Moodle by 11:59pm Saturday, March 3, 2018.

The second element of your research project will be to assemble and complete an annotated bibliography of secondary sources relating to your material. The books and articles you choose should represent a historiographical overview of your topic with as wide a variety of viewpoints and approaches as possible. The extent to which you are able to represent a spectrum of approaches will vary with your topic, however, all works of “major” importance should be included.

Depending upon the type of source material, you should have 4-5 major books and/or scholarly articles/book chapters. If you are relying entirely on articles/book chapters as resources you should have 7-8 different annotations. Internet sources are not acceptable unless they come from a verified academic source. Encyclopedia entries are considered TERTIARY sources and also do not apply.

Remember, this scholarship should represent as wide a view of your topic as possible. There “should” be very little written about your exact topic. However, you need to take a wide perspective in order to properly cover your bases. If there is not a lot of work published on your particular case, look for a parallel case during another time, or in another geographical area.

When starting your in-depth reading you should always start with the most recent scholarship first – do not neglect articles. The most recent scholarship will often list sources that their work was based upon, which will then lead you backwards historiographically to find works important to your topic.



For our purposes we will be using the THREE PARAGRAPH format for annotations. After the bibliographic citation, you will include:

  1. A summary of the text, including the major arguments and themes, including an assessment of the author’s background and credentials
  2. An evaluation of the texts strengths and weaknesses
  3. A reflection on the applicability of the source to your own research


An example (from PURDUE OWL):

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1998.

Davidson is the world’s foremost expert on Norse mythology and a professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge. This book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.

Davidson’s approach to research is founded upon primary evidence and offers a number of insights which build upon Coke and Diebold’s previous work on sites in Northern France. However, in her construction of a narrative of everyday life she neglects the important work of Yearling which was based upon cave paintings done in the same period.

Davidson’s insights as to the gendered structure of the northern European prehistorical era will be important to relate to my own research on the adaptation of barbarian societies before the expansion of the Roman Empire. Especially in terms of religious beliefs, Davidson’s research will be important in starting to differentiate where certain religious rituals were altered in response to the Roman arrival.