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CMP102 - Composition 2 - Sherf

Annotated Bibliographies

Annotated Bibliographies

An Annotated Bibliography is a great tool for organizing your research

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.

  • 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.
    For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.

  • 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?
    For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources.

  • 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?

Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.

Source= Annotated Bibliographies from Purdue OWL


Outline of the annotated bibliography

At the top of the page you will put the title "Annotated Bibliography" in the center of the page.

Under the title state your Thesis - What is the focus of your research?

For each source you use, you will...

Copy the MLA Style citation

Write a brief summary and discuss how the source connects to your thesis. Include citations from the source to show these connections.

putting it all togetherWhere to start

  • You will start with your sources.
  • For each article or book you chose you will want to read through it at least twice.
  • Mark up the articles and chapters. Highlight passages that relate to your thesis and take notes about relevant information.
  • Identify the most relevant part of the source.
  • Pull together your notes and the passages that you highlighted
  • Take a moment to reflect on the source - How does it add to your understanding of your thesis
  • Write a brief summary explaining what the source was about
  • Discuss how this source helped you understand your topic and how it relates to your thesis
  • Include quotes (the passages you highlighted) to show how the source connects to your thesis

Most of the Library's databases will format citations in the MLA and APA styles. This is the easiest way to capture your citations. When you find a source look for the Cite/Citation or Email options and copy and paste the citation onto the Matrix.

When writing research papers it is important to cite all the resources you used. As you're conducting your research be sure to collect the citation information from each book, article, or Website you find. Whether you quote directly from one of these sources or put the ideas in your own words you must cite it. If you don't cite correctly you could be found guilty of plagiarism. 

Citations are easy to find in the Library's databases; many of which allow you to email the correctly formatted citation to yourself. Basic citation information includes the title of the work, author, publisher, date, and perhaps source. Use the citation templates to find what information you need to collect for your sources.

Check out our Citation Guide for more information about citations and citing.

cite research