Just getting started? Know your terminology?
A bibliography is a list of resources in an appropriate citation format – MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. An annotated bibliography is different from a standard bibliography in that each citation also contains a concise, paragraph-long summary of the resource’s purpose and content, plus an evaluation of how each source (book, database article, web site, etc.) applies to your chosen topic.
An annotated bibliography is often assigned as a preliminary bibliography to help you plan your paper. A preliminary annotated bibliography is a list of resources that you could possibly use to write your paper. It is not necessarily the same as the list you will turn in with your final paper.
An annotated bibliography may also be the final bibliography for your paper. This means that you must include every source you actually used in writing the paper.
Process for Writing an Annotated Bibliography
- List the completed bibliographical citation.
- Explain the main purpose of the work.
- Briefly describe the content.
- Indicate the possible audience for the work.
- Evaluate the relevance of the information.
- Note any special features.
- Warn readers of any weakness, defect, or bias.*
Annotated Bibliography MLA Citation Examples
College Databases, Scholarly Article:Also notice that the following example shows how to cite two authors, and notice that the citations are double-spaced. Also note that the annotation (summary) starts immediately after the citation. It is not put into a separate paragraph.
Tabor, Monica C., and Robert L. Lancaster. “Ethics and Education in Sixteenth Century England.” New Journal of British History 24:4 (2011): 12-22. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. This article discusses the major moral issues of sixteenth-century college education in England. Topics include the closing of schools and the forfeiture of college properties to the crown during the reign of King Henry VIII. Described are strategies used by schools attempting to avoid such forfeiture, and the role of monks and college professors as martyrs for their faiths. The authors are clear that they favor the separation of church and state. They are less clear on how sixteenth–century colleges in England could have avoided their fate at the hands of Henry VIII.
Print Format: Example for Book in Print:This example shows a book with three authors.
Jones, Tamara, George Smith, and Angela Jones. A Study on Essential Racial Issues in Canada. New York: Scribner, 2010. Print. The authors attempt to support their claims that racial issues in Canada have never been as wide-spread or as inflammatory as race problems in the United States. Based on a review of the literature of hundreds of articles and books about race relations in both countries, this work also gives historical data and statistics that students may find useful, including twenty-three comparative charts. However, the writing suffers from a wordy style which slows reading almost to a standstill. In general, this book attempts to provide a thorough, academic-level discussion of an issue that may not have needed proving in the first place.
Magazine Article from a Print Source:
Williams, Lee. "Fears on DNA Studies Still Abound." Newsweek 14 Mar. 2012: 22-24. Print. Williams, a journalist not a scientist, claims that fears of "Andromeda Strain" types of genetic disease are unfounded. Dr. James D. Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, is quoted saying that no one since the discovery of DNA has suffered such a disease. Also mentioned is biologist Robert Schinsheimer who admits that fears are less justified than originally thought but who also fears that genetic engineering could result in a new route for the transmission of cancer. This short article attempts to provide the general public with a balanced and up-to-date overview of the issue.
The spacing in annotations found on this handout is based on Annotated Bibliography Format, page 130, MLA Handbook (7th ed.).
*Process for Writing an Annotated Bibliography.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. St. Cloud University. 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 2012.
7 Steps to Write a Perfect Annotated Bibliography
- Summarize the Sources: At the first instance, you have to choose the sources carefully and then make summaries out of these. You can do this by taking notes and pointing down important aspects of your sources. Make it such that anyone could understand what your work is all about by a mere glimpse of it.
- Citations: Citations reference from scholarly books, academic abstracts, scholarly articles, images of videos and websites. It is the list of the references that you are going to use which is required to support your argument. You have to cite the journals and periodicals using the style that has been asked for by your supervisor. The most widely used forms of citations are American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA) Some other popular forms of citations include the Chicago or Turabian Style, Associated Press (AP) style and Council of Science Editors. You have to make sure about the format of the citations. A general formal first includes the name of the author, then the full book title of the book or article, after that comes the date of publication of the latest revision of the book which can be found on the internet. You can organize your citations by using some methods such as by alphabetically, chronologically, by format, by the language or by sub-topic.
- Use an Annotated Bibliography: Using a little say, one-paragraphed information about your argument shall enrich your paper, and it shall also be easy for the readers. It also helps the reader to decide what sources they are going to use for further reference. In this regard, it should be noted that an annotated bibliography is not an abstract, Instead of providing a detailed summary, it is more informative and focused on a particular aspect of the topic. It shall be much better if you annotate each and every source of your bibliography.
- Assess the Author's Background and Credentials in an Annotation: In an annotated bibliography, using the author's experience and other credentials such as his or her educational and critical reviews. It shall be beneficial to both the readers and the writers. You can also mention the intellectual inclination of the author and the school of thought to which he or she belongs. This mere mention shall make your argument intellectually fertile and more enriched, and your thesis shall be accepted with a great applause.
- Make a list of the Central Themes and Main Arguments: By using these steps, you can give your readers a quick view of what your work is all about. You scan also outline the topic covered as they are used in your research question and make a molecular study about the work. You have to make it clear to the readers why you are using this particular book or article or journal to substantiate your arguments. Outline the importance of the particular source and make it easily readable by any range of readers. Make it approachable to all of them.
- Evaluate Each Source: Make a critical evaluation of each of the sources you are using. Under the subhead "bibliographically included" and make a note whether you the particular source has any glossary, index or bibliography. It there are any test devices or survey instruments, you should also make a note of that. You have to make velar the usefulness of a particular source in your research work. Let the readers know whether the information is biased or objective or whether it is reliable. Also, mention about the chronology of the books. It is important to note whether a particular source is current or outdated.
- Make a Proper Bibliography with All These Sources: After you are done with the evaluation of your source, you jot down all the sources and write an excellent bibliography out of it. Use these annotated sources in each of the points write it after each points. That shall enrich your article and make it more acceptable.