Sample annotations

Below are two sample annotations from International Relations and Environmental Science.

International Relations

This first sample is an annotation from the journal article by William Tow and Brendan Taylor. The student is conducting research for an essay with the question: "Using relevant theory, analyze the key components of 'security architecture' in East Asia."

Tow, William and Brendan Taylor. "What is Asian security architecture?" Review of International Studies 36 (2010): 95-116.

This article examines the definition of the term 'security architecture' particularly in the Asian context. It argues that there is no current clear definition and that in order for progress to be made in terms of regional stability and economic performance, there needs to be a clearer understanding of the region's security objectives. After examining current theory and definitions, the article uses the US and Asia as case studies to explore current thinking around security architecture in Asia. The authors propose an alternative perspective using seven characteristics which refer broadly to design, function and structure. In general they argue that any Asian security architecture should be geographically defined, it should be unifying, designed from the "bottom-up" and focused not just on institutions and security. The article gives a comprehensive and clear idea of the current understanding of security architecture in Asia and other regions, however the article was written in 2010 so the region has been influenced by more recent events. The seven point plan is useful for exploring a potential new way of understanding security architecture but the authors do not point out the limitations that these might have in terms of acceptance from key stakeholders. Notwithstanding these weaknesses, this article will be useful in my own research as I develop a clear theoretical framework for security in East Asia and possible ways of framing security architecture for the future.

Notice how the first five sentences give a broad summary of the article including a clear summary of the authors' argument. Next the student outlines some critical evaluation of the article and finally specifically addresses how the article will be useful in answering their essay question.

Environmental Science

In this sample, the student is conducting research on increasing understanding of environmental issues in marine environments.

Cleland, Deborah, Anne Dray, Pascal Perez, and Rollan Geronimo. 2010. SimReef and ReefGame: gaming for integrated reef research and management. In Building capacity in coral reef science: An anthology of CRTR scholars' research 2010, edited by D. Cleland, J. Melbourne-Thomas, M. King and G. Sheehan. St Lucia: University of Queensland.

Deborah et al. presents two participatory gaming tools that address the need for integrative approaches to coral reef management. SimReef is a computer-based role play game designed at regional level. Tested in Mexico with policy makers and industry representatives, the model simulates coastal development trajectories and trade-offs between environmental, social and economic priorities. On the other hand, ReefGame is a local-level model and board game that helped local people and reef managers from the Philippines to explore interactions between livelihoods, reefs and fisheries. These experiences contend that using games with stakeholders can be a powerful way to educate and involve the public in coral reef management. Although the role-play games are implemented in the context of coastal resource management, this article is useful to my research because it proves that the use of visuals and other creative techniques to explore alternative options in resource management are helpful and beneficial. The main weakness of this book chapter is the limited discussion on the required conditions to make its implementation successful. The article will not form the basis of my research; however it will be supplementary information for my methodology, particularly on role-play game.

Firstly the full citation details of the source are given using Chicago style. The student begins by summarising the content of the chapter in a few short sentences. This gives the reader a good idea of what the chapter is about. They then clearly indicates the main argument of the chapter, that "using games with stakeholders can be a powerful way to educate and involve the public in coral reef management." They indicates their critical analysis by pointing out the weaknesses and in two places she states how they will use the chapter in her own research.