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Answered By: Michael Pujals
Last Updated: Sep 28, 2018     Views: 655

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

  I. What is the purpose of an annotated bibliography?

A. To demonstrate the quality and depth of research you have done on a topic

B. To critically evaluate your sources to determine gaps in research

C. To provide a literature review of your topic

D. To assist you in formulating your thesis


  II. What is an annotated bibliography?

A. Bibliography: an organized list of sources (books, articles, A/V material, Web sources,
     etc.) formatted in a particular citation style (such as MLA, APA, Chicago)

B. Annotation: a descriptive paragraph that should include:

1. Categorize: Identify the type of source, i.e., academic journal article, book, Web page, etc.
                Note whether it is from a scholarly or popular journal. Note the intended audience and level of
                scholarship- is it written for researchers and professionals or the general public?

2. Summarize: Briefly summarize in your own words, the content, purpose, and scope.

3. Connect: Explain how the source is relevant to your own research. Note whether it provides an
                overview, specific examples, or in-depth research that supports or answers you research

4. Additional evaluative considerations:

a. Author credentials

                                    b. Currency vs. historical significance (literature review)

                                    c. Edition or revision- denotes acceptance or longevity and/or currency

                                    d. Publisher credentials- university, professional organization, or other

e. Evaluation of the source’s strengths, weaknesses, or biases


  III. What is the structure of an Annotated Bibliography?

A. Citation Structure

1. Use proper MLA, APA, or Chicago format, double-spaced, with the first line of
                the citation flush left and all other lines indented.

B. Annotation Structure

1. Position the annotation below the citation in double-spaced paragraph form,
                with all lines indented.

            2. 100-150 words in length or as determined by your professor.

C. Organization

1. Alphabetical by author is typical, but it can also be chronological by time
                period or date of publication, or arranged by format (books, articles, media,
                Web). This may be determined by your professor.



  See examples on the next page.


Example 1: (MLA style, book)

Broude, Norma. Impressionism: a Feminist Reading: The Gendering of Art, Science, and Nature
       in the Nineteenth Century
. New York: Rizzoli, 1991, Print.

       Broude, professor of art history at The American University in Washington, D.C., has taken
       full advantage of her feminist lens to scrutinize modern French science. Her text is
       accessible and reader-friendly and uses post-structuralism without becoming a slave to its
       theories. Her systematic examination of the field reveals underlying patterns of gender
       discrimination inherent in traditional French philosophy. Her examination of the relationship
       between art and science compels readers to take a harder more skeptical look at the sexual
       politics of postmodernism, whose theory seems to be rooted within the French Cartesian
       tradition. The only weakness in her argument is that she omits a discussion of impressionism
       in a social and political context. However, her book is a valuable resource for my research of art, the
       feminine principle, and how it is treated in a male-oriented universe. 

Example 2: (MLA style, article from a database)

Tran, Anthony, and Allan M. Tow. “America, Your Children Are Left Behind.” Journal of
       Paralegal Education and Practice
, 13.2 (1997): 115-117.  LexisNexis Academic. Web.
       29 March 2012.
       Tran, a refugee of the Vietnam War, and Tow, a Professor of History at U Mass, writes a    
       layperson’s overview of the status of Amerasians, particularly those in Southeast Asia. Discussed are topics
       concerning the predicament of children of war, and implications of domestic U.S policy and international
       law. The extensive bibliography in this law review article is especially useful for identifying current,
       relevant legislation on Amerasians.

Compiled from:
Katz, William A., "Annotations" in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science (Vol. 1; New York: Marcel Dekker, 1968)  
Willams, Owen, "Writing an Annotated Bibliography," University of Minnesota, Crookson Library
"Writing Annotations," University of Toledo Libraries
"Writing an Annotated Bibliography," Lawrence University, Seeley G. Mudd Library