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CAL 103: Writing and Communication

This guide will help CAL 103 students get started with their research.


Abstracts are short (100-150 word) summaries of an article usually written by the article's author. They allow researchers to decide without reading the full article whether it is relevant to their research. Abstracts appear before the article's introduction and contain the following components, as applicable:

  • purpose
  • methods
  • scope
  • results
  • conclusions
  • recommendations

Abstracts cannot be written until the work has been written, because you can't summarize something that doesn't exist. Ask yourself: What did you do? How did you do it? What did you discover?

Example from Purdue OWL:
Environmental policy makers and marketers are attracted by the notion of green consumerism. Yet, green consumerism is a contested concept, allowing for a wide range of translations in everyday discursive practices. This paper examines how young consumers construct their images of green consumerism. It makes a close reading of three narratives reflecting available subject positions for young green consumers: the Antihero, the Environmental Hero and the Anarchist. It reveals problems in the prevailing fragmented, gendered and individualistic notions of green consumerism, and discusses implications for policy and marketing practitioners.

Minna, Autio. “Narratives of ‘Green’ Consumers – the Antihero, the Environmental Hero and the Anarchist.” Journal of Consumer Behavior 8.1 (Jan/Feb 2009): 40-53.

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

(Definition used with permission from How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography by Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA)

When annotating a citation, structure it in the following format:

 (click to enlarge)

Example from University of Toronto New College Writing Centre:

McIvor, S. D. (1995). Aboriginal women's rights as "existing rights." Canadian Woman Studies/Les Cahiers de la Femme 2/3, 34-38.

This article seeks to define the extent of the civil and political rights returned to aboriginal women in the Constitution Act (1982), in its amendment in 1983, and in amendments to the Indian Act (1985). This legislation reverses prior laws that denied Indian status to aboriginal women who married non-aboriginal men. On the basis of the Supreme Court of Canada's interpretation of the Constitution Act in R. v. Sparrow (1991), McIvor argues that the Act recognizes fundamental human rights and existing aboriginal rights, granting to aboriginal women full participation in the aboriginal right to self-government.