Just getting started? Know your terminology?
A bibliography is a list of resources in an appropriate citation format – MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. An annotated bibliography is different from a standard bibliography in that each citation also contains a concise, paragraph-long summary of the resource’s purpose and content, plus an evaluation of how each source (book, database article, web site, etc.) applies to your chosen topic.
An annotated bibliography is often assigned as a preliminary bibliography to help you plan your paper. A preliminary annotated bibliography is a list of resources that you could possibly use to write your paper. It is not necessarily the same as the list you will turn in with your final paper.
An annotated bibliography may also be the final bibliography for your paper. This means that you must include every source you actually used in writing the paper.
Process for Writing an Annotated Bibliography
- List the completed bibliographical citation.
- Explain the main purpose of the work.
- Briefly describe the content.
- Indicate the possible audience for the work.
- Evaluate the relevance of the information.
- Note any special features.
- Warn readers of any weakness, defect, or bias.*
Annotated Bibliography MLA Citation Examples
College Databases, Scholarly Article:Also notice that the following example shows how to cite two authors, and notice that the citations are double-spaced. Also note that the annotation (summary) starts immediately after the citation. It is not put into a separate paragraph.
Tabor, Monica C., and Robert L. Lancaster. “Ethics and Education in Sixteenth Century England.” New Journal of British History 24:4 (2011): 12-22. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. This article discusses the major moral issues of sixteenth-century college education in England. Topics include the closing of schools and the forfeiture of college properties to the crown during the reign of King Henry VIII. Described are strategies used by schools attempting to avoid such forfeiture, and the role of monks and college professors as martyrs for their faiths. The authors are clear that they favor the separation of church and state. They are less clear on how sixteenth–century colleges in England could have avoided their fate at the hands of Henry VIII.
Print Format: Example for Book in Print:This example shows a book with three authors.
Jones, Tamara, George Smith, and Angela Jones. A Study on Essential Racial Issues in Canada. New York: Scribner, 2010. Print. The authors attempt to support their claims that racial issues in Canada have never been as wide-spread or as inflammatory as race problems in the United States. Based on a review of the literature of hundreds of articles and books about race relations in both countries, this work also gives historical data and statistics that students may find useful, including twenty-three comparative charts. However, the writing suffers from a wordy style which slows reading almost to a standstill. In general, this book attempts to provide a thorough, academic-level discussion of an issue that may not have needed proving in the first place.
Magazine Article from a Print Source:
Williams, Lee. "Fears on DNA Studies Still Abound." Newsweek 14 Mar. 2012: 22-24. Print. Williams, a journalist not a scientist, claims that fears of "Andromeda Strain" types of genetic disease are unfounded. Dr. James D. Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, is quoted saying that no one since the discovery of DNA has suffered such a disease. Also mentioned is biologist Robert Schinsheimer who admits that fears are less justified than originally thought but who also fears that genetic engineering could result in a new route for the transmission of cancer. This short article attempts to provide the general public with a balanced and up-to-date overview of the issue.
The spacing in annotations found on this handout is based on Annotated Bibliography Format, page 130, MLA Handbook (7th ed.).
*Process for Writing an Annotated Bibliography.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. St. Cloud University. 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 2012.
Bibliographies are used to cite sources that are used in a research paper. An annotatedbibliography is more than a mere list of sources. It includes:
- A summary - includes information that explains what information the source provides
- An evaluation - explains why or how the notation is a useful source. It can also speak to the validity of the source in terms of its scholarly nature
- An explanation of value - speaks to the relevance of the citation to the research paper
Some annotated bibliographies offer only summaries, while others offer all three components. It is important to assess what the audience of the research paper will be seeking before crafting an annotated bibliography.
Annotated Bibliography Format Styles
Summary Format Styles
The basic format of an annotated bibliography is the same as a non-annotated bibliography entry. The difference is that the publication information about the source material is followed with the annotation that reviews and evaluates the material.
Here are the two basic format styles:
APA (American Psychological Association) Style
StyleBaker, T. (1995). Gun control and You. Stevenson Learning Law Review, 45 (2), 180-193. The author researches several federal and state firearms regulations and their effect on the everyday citizen. By testing his hypothesis that firearms regulations have an inherent effect on everyday citizens, findings yield in support of the hypothesis. In contrast, Baker cited in an earlier study the complete opposite findings.
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style
StyleJohnson, Jaime. "Gun Control: Your Only Means of Defense.” Researcher's Special Journal (1999): 254-325. Print. The author researches several federal and state firearms regulations and their effect on the everyday citizen. By testing his hypothesis that firearms regulations have an inherent effect on everyday citizens, findings yield in support of the hypothesis. In contrast, Baker cited in an earlier study the complete opposite.
Full 3-Component Format Style
Crohn’s and Colitis - An Annotated Bibliography
Crohn’s and Colitis Drug Effective in Trials. (2013). Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265128.php
Published on the website Medical News Today, this article discusses the research findings of two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vedoluzimab is a drug being tested to help Crohn’s and Colitis patients deal with the debilitating effects of these diseases. The article briefly outlines the research suggesting effectiveness of the drug.
MediLexicon International, the publisher of the article, is a U.K. based health care internet publishing company that is dedicated to providing top notch unbiased content. Publishing since 2003, this reputable company’s articles are reliable for use for research support.
Glover, Sonia B. Coping With Crohn’s, The Pain and The Laughter. Newfoundland and Labrador: Boulder Publications. 2007. Print
This insightful account of one woman’s struggles with her symptoms and diagnosis of Crohn’s provides valuable personal information for those struggling with Crohn’s.
Published by Boulder Publications, a self-proclaimed “publisher of high quality books,” this book is a useful tool to understand Crohn’s disease. It is a reliable resource for anecdotal information about Crohn’s disease.
Linking Vitamin D Deficiency to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. (2013). Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Journal. Retrieved from: http://journals.lww.com/ibdjournal/Fulltext/2013/09000/Linking_Vitamin_D_Deficiency_to_Inflammatory_Bowel.26.aspx
A comprehensive scholarly article about the links between Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, this piece offers scientific information about how Vitamin D works within the body, and information from a wide variety of doctors and researchers that supports a link between the vitamin and IBD disorders.
Scientific and evidence based, this journal article from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundations of America’s journal is a highly useful resource to support the topic of this paper.
No Reservations - How to Take the Worry Out of Eating Out. (2013). CCFA: Take Charge Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/diningout.pdf
An insightful article, this piece gives information to those suffering with Crohn’s and Colitis to help to ease the anxiety and stress of eating outside of the home.
Including information that is research based, and published by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, this resource is highly reliable and gives a useful context for the information within this research paper.
Creating an Annotated Bibliography
Some tips for creating a well-annotated bibliography include:
- Consider which writing style is required of your research. One of the things to keep in mind about APA and MLA format is that there is a distinguishing difference. For example, MLA format is usually double spaced within the citation and between each citation.
- Use the third person when writing.
- Make a list of the points which the author emphasized as relative to the topic that you were researching.
- Make sure that the sources which you used are aligned or in agreement with your stance on the research issue. This will helps to make a stronger argument for your stance on the issue that you researched.
In summary, the key to writing a complete and properly formatted annotated bibiography is to review your source material, take detailed notes, select the format to be used for the annotations. Summarize the content, providing information that describes and evaluates the source material.