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How do I Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: Home

An Annotated Bilbiography

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journal articles, Web sites, etc.) that you have consulted in order to write a paper.

An annotated bibliography differs from a standard bibliography. For each source listed you will need to provide descriptive or evaluative comments (i.e., annotations).

Annotations versus abstracts

Abstracts

Abstracts are brief descriptive summaries that present the main points of the original work. They are often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. They normally do not include an evaluation of the work itself.

Annotations

Annotations are descriptive and/or evaluative. A descriptive annotation summarizes the scope and content of a work whereas an evaluative annotation provides critical comment. Annotations expose the author's point of view, clarify and appropriateness of expression and authority.

What the annotation includes

Generally, annotations should be no more than 150 words (or 4-6 sentences long). They should be concise and well-written. Depending on your assignment, annotations may include some or all of the following information:

  • Main focus or purpose of the work
  • Intended audience for the work
  • Usefulness or relevance to your research topic (or why it did not meet your expectations)
  • Special features of the work that were unique or helpful
  • Background and credibility of the author
  • Conclusions or observations reached by the author
  • Conclusions or observations reached by you / describe your reaction to the source


Formatting an annotated bibliography?

Your instructor will indicate a particular citation style guide to use. Style guides include--- APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian. Consult these style guides to format your bibliography correctly.

Most bibliographies organize items alphabetically by the author's last name. Use a citation style guide to determine what information to include for each item. Your annotation should appear right after or below the citation.

Examples according to APA

Chrisholm, P. (1996, March 11). The ADD dilemma. Maclean's, 109, 42-44.

This magazine article looks at the use of Ritalin in Canada. Specifically, it covers the drug's side effects, why there is so much debate surrounding its use and how teachers have come to rely on it to control problem students. The article is based on information taken from interviews, statistics and studies that were conducted. Overall, it is well written and well researched.

Kirkey, S. (2001, November 27). Jury's still out on Ritalin. The Gazette, A1.

This newspaper article focuses on a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal about the short and long-term effects of using Ritalin. The information comes from a reputable source and is based upon fact. This article was useful for my research as it helped support my idea that Ritalin may not be the answer for treating children with ADD.

 

Waite, L. J., Goldschneider, F. K., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations     among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51 (4), 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

Example using MLA format for the journal citation. NOTE: Standard MLA practice requires double spacing within citations.

Waite, Linda J., Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family

              Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review 51.4 (1986): 541-554. Print.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

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