How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography
Versión española: Cómo Preparar una Bibliografía Anotada
- WHAT IS AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY?
- ANNOTATIONS VS. ABSTRACTS
- THE PROCESS
- CRITICALLY APPRAISING THE BOOK, ARTICLE, OR DOCUMENT
- CHOOSING THE CORRECT FORMAT FOR THE CITATIONS
- SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY FOR A JOURNAL ARTICLE
WHAT IS AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY?
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.
ANNOTATIONS VS. ABSTRACTS
Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.
Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.
First, locate and record 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.
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. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.
CRITICALLY APPRAISING THE BOOK, ARTICLE, OR DOCUMENT
For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see How to Critically Analyze Information Sources. For information on the author's background and views, ask at the reference desk for help finding appropriate biographical reference materials and book review sources.
CHOOSING THE CORRECT FORMAT FOR THE CITATIONS
Check with your instructor to find out which style is preferred for your class. Online citation guides for both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) styles are linked from the Library's Citation Management page.
SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRY FOR A JOURNAL ARTICLE
IMPORTANT NOTE: These examples use the APA and MLA formats for the journal citations. They are for general guidance only. Standard APA and MLA practice requires double spacing. Due to limitations in the Drupal formatting the exact indentions, the spacing between lines, and the relative font sizes are not rendered properly here. Consult the style manuals for APA and MLA.
Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51(4), 541-554.
Waite, Linda J., Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review 51.4 (1986): 541-554. Print.
Last revised 25 September 2012 [MOE]
Michael Engle, Amy Blumenthal, and Tony Cosgrave