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Annotated Bibliographies: Home


While this guide aims to help with developing and understanding the concepts that go into an annotated bibliography, it is not set in stone as a specific way in which to complete one.  

Adhere to any explicit points that may be part of your assignment from you instructor.  

Consult with your instructor with any questions regarding an assignment.

What is a bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of sources used in research.  These could include books, articles, websites, documents, interviews, etc.  These sources will follow a specific style format such as MLA or APA.

What is an annotation?

This is a summary and/or evaluation of a source.

What is an annotated bibliography?

This is a list of sources with a summary explaining each source.  Formatting would include the citation of the source, in the appropriate style, followed by a brief description.  Descriptions can be as brief as a sentence but they are typically a short paragraph.  The aim is to establish the value of a work relating to a research topic.  The most common types of annotations are descriptive and critical.

What is a descriptive annotation?

A descriptive annotation generally includes the summary of the source without critiquing it. One might consider including:

  • Contents
  • Main idea and purpose
  • Conclusions
  • Intended audience
  • Special features (images, tables, maps, etc)

What is a critical annotation?

A critical annotation will include a description as well as an evaluation and/or criticism of the source.

One might consider including:

  • Components of a descriptive annotation
  • Author's qualifications
  • Author's bias
  • Importance of the work in context of the subject
  • Accuracy of the information 

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