What Is Annotation?

In the simplest of terms, annotation is another term for note-taking. Most students are used to taking notes while listening to a lecture and jotting down a few notes when reading a course assignment.

Annotation, however, means that you’re more involved in the text itself. Have you used to buy book reports?

You’re writing (or typing) directly on the document to help you remember (and better understand) important information.

Basic annotations can involve a variety of different strategies:

Underlining, circling, or highlighting key terms or concepts. Asking questions. (These questions might be questions about concepts or arguments that you don’t understand, or questions about the topic itself.) Summarizing main ideas, arguments, or counterarguments. If you’re a little more creative, you might find that drawing images, graphs, or charts can also help you visualize and remember key points.

While annotation can involve any or all of the strategies mentioned above, you don’t always have to use each strategy every time you annotate. How you annotate depends on your purpose for annotation.