Roman Civilisation Abstract and Annotated Bibliography

Roman Civilisation

Abstract and Annotated Bibliography


What is the point of this assignment?

This assignment is designed to give you a head start on your research and troubleshoot potential problems. Giving yourself time to look into a subject and think about how you can best approach it is the key to setting yourself up for success.


When is it due?

Wednesday, March 14, 20:00 via SAKAI. Late submissions will not be accepted because it’s vital that your TA give you feedback in good time.


Anything else?

Total Value: 5% of your final course grade.

Length: Abstract 150-200 word; Annotated Bibliography: 3-5 sentences per entry.

Format: Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced.


What do I need to do?

Your assignment consists of two parts/pages (Word doc, not PDF):


  1. I) PART/PAGE 1

Look at Essay Guidelines (see SAKAI/Assignment/Research Paper) and select a topic that interests you. Write an Abstract of between 150-200 words that:

  • identifies your subject (e.g. slavery and education).
  • summarises your approach (e.g. you are writing a chronological study demonstrating ways in which Roman perceived slaves, focusing on role of slaves in education, using named sources).
  • describes your thesis (e.g. you think slavery was good for Rome because it encouraged widespread transmission of literacy).

Since this is a working document, the final version of your paper need not hold to every specific of the abstract (e.g. your research concludes that slavery did NOT have impact on literacy) but you should keep the general subject (e.g. slavery & education). However, if you want to change your topic you MUST obtain prior approval from your instructor. Failure to do so will incur a 10% penalty on the final Research Paper grade.


  1. II) PART/PAGE 2

With your abstract you must attach an annotated bibliography of THREE secondary sources that are NOT from TRSC or ARD (go to SAKAI and review Primary and Secondary Sources: A Classics Primer if you are uncertain about what this means). Beneath each entry write 3-5 sentences that explain why this source is relevant to your research. There is no word limit, but the bibliography MUST be consistently formatted.



Abstract and Annotated Bibliography




What is a bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of books, articles, and documents used and/or cited in your research. It is sometimes called “References” or “Works Cited”.


What is an annotated bibliography?

In an annotated bibliography each item is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The annotation doesn’t just describe the contents of the work, it also points the reader to the why the work has been written (the “research question”) and give an indication of the methodology and/or main conclusion.


*Top Tip: Follow this link for more detail on what Annotated Bibliographies look like and the style in which they are written


Can you give me an example?

Here you go:


Karen K. Hersch, The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity.   Cambridge/New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2010.


This study provides a detailed analysis of Roman marriage rituals and their legal status. Evidence is drawn primarily from inscriptions and literary texts. The author asks the question “what did marriage mean to participants?” She concludes that marriage was a rite of passage for women, but not for men.


*Top Tip: The introduction of a book or abstract of an article will often provide the necessary information for annotation.


What is the difference between an abstract and an annotation?

  • An abstract is a purely descriptive summary of what you plan to write/have written. It identifies the subject matter, the main argument and the data/sources/theory used to support the argument.
  • An annotation is a critical summary or evaluation of a specific work.


Where do I start?

FIRST locate your sources. If you’re completely new to a topic it’s always a good idea to look at your course books (ARD and TRSC) and check their notes and bibliography for sources. This will give you an idea of the most relevant and up-to-date works. You will find sources through the library. If you are not sure how to use library resources contact Karen Bordanaro, the Classics Librarian (

A note about online resources for Classics: It’s ok to use Google or Wikipedia to find a quick reference, but they are not valid sources for research papers. ONLY items sourced through the Library’s catalogue or databases (e.g journal articles and e-books sourced through the catalogue, JSTOR, Project Muse and Academic One Search) will be considered as valid sources and receive credit accordingly.


*Top Tip: When you find a source, check the author’s name as a search term to find if they have written other related works on the topic.


NEXT review your sources. A brief examination will determine how relevant they are to your work. Some helpful questions to ask yourself are: What is the main argument? What kinds of evidence are used? Is the author a recognized scholar in this subject? Once you’ve reviewed your sources you will know why you want to include them in your essay. Make a list of those reasons and write them up in 3-5 sentences.


*Top Tip: If you are uncertain about a source, check the author’s background. What makes them an authority on the subject?

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