Annotated Bibliography - Parts and Examples

  • Decrease Text Size
  • Increase Text Size

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources about a particular topic, in which each citation is followed by a brief annotation, or discussion of the source. The annotation usually consists of just one paragraph, but your instructor may require more. An annotated bibliography is useful for documenting your research in a specific area, exploring varying viewpoints, and summarizing main points from different sources. There are two parts to every entry in an annotated bibliography: the citation and the annotation.

The Citation

The citation includes the bibliographic information of the source. OHS uses the MLA documentation style for all citations. Follow the instructions for the assignment, and the guidelines in the appropriate documentation style. Citations are organized alphabetically.

The Annotation

The annotation is a brief paragraph following the citation. The annotation of a source can serve several different purposes:

  • Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. 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? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.

  • Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. 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: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. 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?

The length of an annotation depends upon the assignment. Shorter annotations will most likely cover only main points and themes; longer annotations may require a more in-depth description, discussion, or evaluation of the source. Consult the specific requirements for your assignment as your teacher may dictate a word count or length for each annotation.

See below for samples.

Works Cited

Gilbert, Pam. “From Voice to Text: Reconsidering Writing and Reading in the English Classroom.” English Education 23.4 (1991): 195-211. Print. Gilbert provides some insight into the concept of “voice” in textual interpretation, and points to a need to move away from the search for voice in reading. Her reasons stem from a growing danger of “social and critical illiteracy,” which might be better dealt with through a move toward different textual understandings. Gilbert suggests that theories of language as a social practice can be more useful in teaching. Her ideas seem to disagree with those who believe in a dominant voice in writing, but she presents an interesting perspective.

Greene, Stuart. “Mining Texts in Reading to Write.” Journal of Advanced Composition 12.1 (1992): 151-67. Print. This article works from the assumption that reading and writing inform each other, particularly in the matter of rhetorical constructs. Greene introduces the concept of “mining texts” for rhetorical situations when reading with a sense of authorship. Considerations for what can be mined include language, structure, and context, all of which can be useful depending upon the writer’s goals. The article provides some practical methods that complement Doug Brent’s ideas about reading as invention.

"Find Resources." University Writing Center. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.