Working Thesis/Annotated Bibliography

For this step in the research process, you will be

1. Crafting a ‘working’ thesis statement (remember, it may change before the final copy of your paper and that’s okay!) and

2. Creating an annotated bibliography. Both of these will be typed according to MLA format and turned in for a grade.

How to do an Annotated Bibliography:

  1. Find your sources.
    1. Remember, you need a minimum of four sources; one from each of the categories outlined in the Overview of the research paper.
    2. READ your sources. Make sure you understand them and how they might function in your paper.
  2. Create an MLA citation for each of your sources.
    1. I highly recommend you do NOT use a program like ‘Easy Bib’ because it usually messes something up. Use the Purdue OWL as a reference for MLA citations.
      2. MLA citations are always double-spaced, using a hanging indent when continued on to the second and subsequent lines.
    2. Write an annotation for each source.
      1. The annotation will be two parts (mini-paragraphs).
        1. Part 1: Summarize the source. What main ideas are expressed in the source? 3-5 sentences, NOT including your own opinion.
        2. Part 2: Explain how you plan to use the source in your own paper (how will it help you prove your thesis?) and why the source is a credible one. Should be 2-3 sentences.
      2. *The annotation is in your own words, NOT copied from the original sources.
      3. Annotations should be single-spaced.
    3. Compile it all together in MLA format.
      1. Use the general rules for an MLA-formatted paper – 1” margins, 12 pt. TNR, MLA heading, Running Header with your last name & page number, etc.
      2. Title the paper ‘Working Thesis and Annotated Bibliography’
        1. Sub-title with the general topic of your paper (e.g. Public Education in America)
      3. Type your thesis statement.
      4. Follow with your annotated sources (use example as a guide).
        1. Always listed in alphabetical order according to the first thing in the MLA entry
      5. Print one-sided.

Working Thesis Statement

Because the issues that prevent organ donation from being highly effective primarily stem from unfounded myths and worries about the process, with improved education, organ donation could save more lives.

Cronin, Antonia J. and John Harris. “Authorisation, Altruism.” Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50.

This journal article discusses the selflessness of donating organs. Although it is based on research from the United Kingdom, I believe the overall concept still applies to organ         donation in America. The authors of this article are medical experts.

I will use this article to explain organ donation from the experts’ side. It will give my paper some credibility.

Frangoul, Anmar. “Grieving Families.” CNBC, 15 Jan. 2016. Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.

In this recent article, Frangoul exposes that some families are upset about the organ donation process. These families were involved in making the decision to end life support and to donate their loved ones’ organs, but then later worried that they made the wrong choice. The reporter investigates the reason for this worry.

I plan to use this article to explain how organ donation is misunderstood. I think it represents some widely held beliefs about the dangers of organ donation.

Lovely, Stephen. Irreplaceable. Hachette Books, 2009.

This novel is a touching story about organ donation and how it can bring strangers together. The main character randomly meets the recipient of his loved one’s donated heart, and the connection between the two is undeniable. The story reflects organ donation in a positive light.

I will use this article to represent how organ donation is being portrayed in current American Literature. While the medical and legal concept surrounding organ donation are important, the human side of the experience is significant as well.

Choosing a Topic of Research Paper

Structure of research paper:

Topic (this is the question you are researching)/the position you are defending (persuasive)

  1. Introduction
  2. Attention getter (a general statement loosely related to your topic.)

Example: Every thirty seconds, someone in the United States is killed by a drunk driver, which is two people per minute, one hundred- twenty people per hour.

3. Thesis (the main point of your paper. This should the main focus of your paper.)

Example: The current penalties for drunk driving are not an effective means of keeping people from driving while intoxicated.

4. Directional statement (the three main details that back up or give information about your topic.) It should only be ONE sentence.

Example: The current laws are not working because drunk driving is the number one cause of vehicle related death in the country, it does not address the real issue of people who have alcohol problems and it allows people who have a good lawyer to get their licenses right away if they can afford a good lawyer.

5. Transition statement (a statement wrapping up your intro and moving the reader along to the rest of the paper.)

Example: The current law doesn’t sufficiently punish people enough for putting the lives of others in danger.

Choosing a topic:

1. What are a few topics that interest you?

2. What sort of controversy/issues do those interests present?

3. How are Americans already discussing these issues?

4. How might you add your own voice to this ongoing discussion?

Research Proposal:

• I will begin by researching the general topic of _____________________________, and more specifically, _________________________________________________________________.
• I plan to research different formats of ongoing discussion about this issue. I really hope to find:

• Going into this project, my current understanding and opinion of this topic is:

Ten Questions

Directions: It is helpful to begin the research process by conceding that there are many things you do not yet know about your topic, the sources you may find on that topic, or what you will have to say about the topic. For this reason, it can be beneficial to write down the questions that you have before you begin. Then, while you are researching, you can refer back to this list of questions to remind yourself where you started. It should guide and focus you throughout your search for information.

Doing the Research

Throughout your research process, it is important to keep in mind three important things:
(1) WHAT is the issue?
(2) HOW are Americans addressing this problem? –through their literature, artwork, reporting, formal research, etc.
(3) HOW will I propose my own solution to the problem?

Below, write out MLA Works Cited entries for your selected sources. You need one of each genre (4 minimum), but may cite more if needed.

A. Work of American Literature (prose or poetry)

B. Newspaper/Magazine Article

C. Multimedia

D. Journal Article (JSTOR)

8 Free Websites for Writing a Research Paper

Beginning Steps

Steps in Writing a Research Paper -from Empire State College, this site will walk you through the steps of writing a research paper with worksheets to help, such as choosing a research question, developing a thesis, and evaluating sources.

Owl – Purdue’s Online Writing Lab – step by step instructions for writing a research paper and OWL exercises to help you understand portions of writing papers, ex. Writing Numbers – when to spell them out or write them digitally


If you have trouble finding resources to start, Easy Bib has a Research section that will show you the bibliographies of other users that researched the same topic. It labels each entry as credible or maybe credible to not credible.

If you need more help with writing your paper you can check the Edusson research paper writing service.  The writers walks you through writing a paper from Brainstorming an idea to proofreading and revising.

Citelighter – downloadable tool bar that lets you highlight and save resources puts them on a page with the citation at the bottom of the page. The notes can be rearranged and when imported into Word, the citations become the Bibliography. They have Knowledge cards of research being done by other people. If your topic is not among them they will help create one for you.

Evaluating Web Sites – Cornell University’s Library has a printer-friendly webpage to help you evaluate the sites you may want to use in your research

Paper Review

Paper Rater – Free online grammar checker, plagiarism detector, word choice, sentence length, spelling, etc.

Plagiarism Checker – Checks phrases from your document, allows you to create a Google alert on your phrases

Bibliography Makers

BibMe – Free automatic bibliography maker can be downloaded in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian formats

Sample Research Paper Template

Outline Thesis Statement in Research Paper


I. Introduction

II. Early family life

III. Adult life

IV. Career

V. Accomplishments

VI. Conclusion: Thesis (Why is this person a hero?)

Name (First and Last)
Date (5 May 2015)

(Introduction) Hook and thesis

Body #1 Early life

Body #2 Adult life

Body #3 Career

Body #4 Accomplishments

Conclusion (Thesis and answer the question “Why is this person a hero?”)

Grading Rubric

Thesis statement is one sentence.
Thesis statement has three main points.

There are notes from three sources. One source should be a book.
Works Cited page should be filled out using as notes are taken from each source
Each source should have one direct quote. The page number should be included for the book.

Finalized thesis should be written in the box on the Outline page.
Outline body paragraphs are written in sentence form. These sentences should become the topic sentence for each paragraph.

Rough draft
Introduction has a hook and a thesis.
Research paper body has two direct quotes with internal citations.
Each body paragraph has a topic sentence.
Each paragraph is indented.
There is adequate detail from research for each paragraph.
There are good transitions between ideas.
Spelling is correct.
Capitalization is correct.
Punctuation is correct.
The thesis is restated in the conclusion.

Final draft
Font should be for Verdana 12/ doublespaced.
All information should be converted from the template to actual student information.
Page numbers should be correct.
Works cited entries should be in alphabetical order.

Step by Step Procedure for Completing the Research Paper

Directions: Check each box as it is completed.

  • Download the “Sample Research Paper Template” into your student folder.
  • Choose a topic (role model) from the choices your teacher provides.
  • Have your teacher initial and date the first box “Topic.”
  • Write a working thesis statement in the box on your contract page. It can be a simple statement of why you think this person is a role model.
  • Have your teacher initial and date the second box “Working Thesis Statement.”
  • Complete all three sources by taking notes in the correct section.
  • As you choose your source capture the URL and immediately copy and paste it into the Work Cited section of your Sample Research Paper Template.
  • Make sure to copy a quote from each source. If it is a book be sure and write down the page number.
  • Have your teacher initial and date the third box “3 Sources and Notes.”
  • Since you have researched and know more about your topic, add information to your thesis on your Outline. Decide on three reasons that this person is a good role model. Make sure your thesis statement is one sentence long.
  • Summarize each paragraph into a single topic sentence.
  • Have your teacher initial and date the fourth box “Outline.”
  • Make sure that the correct information is entered on your Cover page, Outline page, and Works Cited page.
  • Using the information you have gathered in each category, begin filling in your Research section.
  • Make sure that you have at least two quotes that are correctly cited within your paper.
  • Have your teacher initial and date the fifth box “Rough Draft.”
  • Check your paper against the Grading Rubric.
  • Copy your paper.
  • Choose a peer editor to highlight spelling, capitalization, punctuation, organization, and clarity errors.
  • Have the peer editor initial and date the sixth box “Peer Edit.”
  • Using peer suggestions, make changes in your rough draft as needed. Make sure the pages on your Research Paper are numbered correctly. Make sure that you have 2 properly cited quotes.
  • Copy your final draft and turn in your Research Paper on top, your Research Paper Contract next, and your Grading Rubric.