A book I have been reading1, has two (complimentary) recommendations for PhD students:
- Add everything you read/encounter to your reference management system
- Keep a annoteded bibliography of everything you read.
They argue that (as I read it):
- If you looked at a resource and found it was bad, then having a note about how useless (and why) it was will save you looking at it again, if you encount it later.
- If you look at something and find it is good, then you will want it later, and want to know why it is good.
- If you look at something and find it off-topic, then later you might realise a highly novel crossover between the topics.
- The pain/effort of ever trying to find something you've lost because you though you didn't note its full reference down apparently haunts the authors to this day. Indeed the authors describe a article they've been looking for for decades and suggest that if a reader finds it, they would appreciate the contact.
Right now my Annotaed bibliography contrained 16 references (I've been keeping it for a week.)
- 13 to various papers in my topic area, or for the foundations that lead to it
- 1 PhD thesis in my topic area, which as well as being good work is also a example of a thesis, that i could use for considering structure
- 1 Article from another area that is explaining the need for manythings, including my topic, for their area
- 1 blog post that while I might never cite, explains a concept from my area that I was having difficulties with better than anything else I have read.
My Anotations vary from:
- 1 sentence summary of the papers topic
- 1 sentence comparason to another paper
- several paragraphs explaining the content
- notes saying that I don't quiet get what the paper is saying.
- note saying that "This paper looks like it would explain paper X's technique but does not. Don't look here for answers on X."
- A see also note
- Or a combination of the above.
Is this how Annotated Bibliography's work?
It seems for several papers putting more detail would be a waste of time (Particularly the ones I am annotating with "Don't read this for X"
1 Petre, M., & Rugg, G. (2010). The unwritten rules of PhD research. McGraw-Hill International.