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Annotated Bibliographies

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

bibliography is a list of resources that you've either cited or consulted in your research. An annotated bibliography is a bibliography with brief summaries (also known as annotations) of each cited resource. Each entry in an annotated bibliography has two distinct parts:

  • the reference
  • the annotation

Sometimes, the annotations include additional details, such as:

  • An evaluation of the resource
  • An explanation of how it fits into your research
  • A description of how it relates to another resource on the same topic

Be sure to read through your assignment instructions carefully to ensure that your annotations include the appropriate details.

Tips for Writing Annotations

Keep in mind that annotations are different than abstracts. An abstract is a summary of an entire article in the same order as the original, and they are typically found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles.

An annotation focuses on the topic that you are researching. Your main goal is to summarize resources as they relate to your topic.

Your annotations should summarize the resource in your own words. Consider:

  • What is the thesis statement?
  • What is the main argument?
  • What did the author(s) do to investigate the problem? (ie: collect data, review literature, etc.)

If you are asked to evaluate the resource, consider:

  • Is the resource reliable? What about their references?
  • What are the resource's strengths and weaknesses?
  • How did the author arrive at their conclusions?
  • Is there anything that they've missed?

If you are asked to explain how the resource fits into your own research, consider:

  • Does it support or contradict your argument?
  • Has it changed how you think about the topic?
  • How do you intend to use it in your research?
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