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Annotated Bibliographies

Formating

The citations (bibliographic information - title, date, author, publisher, etc.) in the annotated bibliography are formatted using the particular style manual (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) that your discipline requires.

Annotations are written in paragraph form, usually 3-7 sentences (or 80-200 words). Depending on your assignment your annotations will generally include the following:

  •  Summary: Summarize the information given in the source. Note the intended audience. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?

 

  •  Evaluate/Assess: Is this source credible? Who wrote it? What are their credentials? Who is the publisher? Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?

 

  • Reflect/React: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. State your reaction and any additional questions you have about the information in your source. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic. Compare each source to other sources in your AB in terms of its usefulness and thoroughness in helping answer your research question.

 

The Process

When creating an annotated bibliography you will need to know how to summarize and analyze, and know how to do library research.

  • Develop a research question and thesis, and come up with search terms (keywords).
  • Locate citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic.
  • Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.
  • Read the items that are most appropriate.
  • Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.
  • Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article.
  • Write an introduction to your annotated bibliography: Define the topic, and the scope of your bibliography, whether it is meant to cover the whole range of opinion or just one viewpoint or aspect. Describe the scope of your bibliography, include whether it covers what you judge to be the best, or the most recent, or a broad sample of the available material on your topic.
  • Review and be sure that your introduction is based on the citations you have selected.