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Annotated Bibliography

Description of what an Annotated Bibliography is, how to conduct one, and examples.

Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography is a list of the articles the author has selected that pertain to the same general topic in some way.  It is alphabetized by authors last name and the annotation is short - usually 150 - 250 words or less.  The Bibliography should be inclusive, covering the topic thoroughly by showing different viewpoints about the same topic.  It should illustrate the relevance of the article to the topic, and it should address the quality of the article.

An Annotation is not an Abstract.  An Abstract is descriptive.  An Annotation is both descriptive and critical.  The Annotation tells about the article (descriptive) and makes a judgment about the importance and status of the article in the field (critical).   

Annotated Bibliographies are usually assigned as a way for the author to learn about a topic in broad terms and then to select and narrow the materials to those thought to be the most relevant by the author.  This process demonstrates the ability to critique and synthesize research and use it as the foundation for further research.

How to Create an Annotated Bibliography

Steps to creating an Annotated Bibliography

  1.  Read the assignment - it is important to know exactly what and how many the instructor for the course is asking you to find.  Check to see what style the instructor requires for this assignment.

  2.  Do the research - search the appropriate databases.  These databases may be the libraries catalog, discovery tool - such as Scout, or subject specific databases relevant to the topic.

  3.  Read the materials and take notes as you read.  Reading the materials will give you a thorough background about the topic.  Taking notes will help you to formulate your thoughts about the individual items in your bibliography.  Notes can often be entered into citation managers or written on note cards.

  4.  Write the annotations for each item you are going to include in your bibliography.

  5.  Write an introduction - if one is required.

  6.  Format the Bibliography using the style rules for the style that meets the requirements for the assignment.

  7.  Edit the Bibliography.  Even if you are using a Citation Manager, or a grammar and spell checker, scrutinize each entry to make sure that it is correct.

Annotated Bibliography Introduction