Good Annotations

How does one write good annotations?

Expert Answers

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Writing annotations is a way to ensure that you study a text, whether a novel, or some other work such as an autobiography carefully. In essence, an annotation is an analytical or illustrative note or group of notes added to a text. An annotation is a comment or an elucidation and it can relate to works beyond books and text. These would include adding an annotation to drawing or a painting, or an annotation to a written musical piece.

Take the following steps as a basic guide to write a good annotation:

1. Read thoroughly the entire text, article, or book you are studying. Make sure you comprehend what you have read before making an annotation on a specific aspect of it.

2. Concentrate on the important aspects of the work you are studying. You want to focus on the main theme or themes of the work and the main points that the writer is trying to drive home to readers.

3. Make a note of the author’s name, the book’s title and the publisher of the work. 

4. Make notes in the book if you so desire – if it is your book. If it’s a library book or someone else’s, utilize sticky notes on specific pages that you wish to annotate. Again, if it’s your book, consider using a yellow highlighter to set apart the passages you wish to annotate.

5. Make a note of words you are unsure of or unfamiliar with so you can look up their meaning when convenient for you. In addition, make a note of dates of events that you wish to perform further research on. Make a note of characters and/or names that are a key part of the work.

6. Write a summary of each section or chapter to give you a concise and quick overview of this portion of the work.

Understand that good annotations will assist you when it comes to writing further papers on the book and topic at hand. Annotations will also help you with studying for exams and tests. Annotations are a great review tool to jog your memory on important aspects of a work without having to read the whole work again or complete chapters again. I

n addition, take the time to consider who the author intended the work for and if he or she presented the topic properly to his or her intended audience. This is a way to ascertain if the author was successful in getting his or her message to intended readers. Note the authors credentials as well – why he or she is an expert in their field and what their academic and other accomplishments are in their field.

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