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Annotated Bibliographies: Annotated Bibliographies

A brief guide to creating annotated bibliographies.

Annotated Bibliography

An bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and other sources used while researching a topic. Bibliographies may be also be called "References" or "Works Cited," depending on the style manual used.

An annotation is a summary or evaluation.

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography with annotations for the items cited.

Descriptive Annotations

Descriptive annotations focus on describing the cited items and may include information such as:

  • Contents and purpose of work
  • Intended audience
  • Research methods used
  • Author's conclusions
  • Special features of the item, such as illustrations, maps, graphs, etc.

Evaluative Annotations

Evaluative (or critical) annotations focus on evaluating the source and may include information such as:

  • Importance of the work's contributions to the field of study
  • Author's qualifications
  • Accuracy of information
  • Limitations of the work
  • Bias or tone of the work
  • Comparsion with other works

Steps to Creating an Annotated Bibliography

First, read your assignment carefully, and if you have questions, ask your instructor. By doing this, you should now know the purpose of the assignment, its requirements, and the style manual to follow when creating your annotated bibliography.

Next, develop your search strategy. Refer to module 3 of the Library Research Tutorial for more information about how to do this.

As you search, record citation information for items that you find.

Review your search results, and choose the sources the provide the most promising information for your topic.

Cite these sources in the appropriate style.

Examine these selected sources in more detail and write your annotations.

Further Resources

Guide Author

Ellen Wilson
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