Definition: An annotated bibliography is a descriptive and evaluative alphabetical list of sources, cited in a uniform and proper citation format, and followed by an annotation. They may include citations to books, journal/magazine articles, web sites, or other materials.
Annotation: An annotation is an analytical paragraph of approximately 100-200 words, or three to six sentences. It explains the main purpose and scope of the source, briefly describes format and content, and may also cover the author’s argument as well as his/her academic credentials. It may address the intended audience of the source, and its value and significance to the field of study. The limitations or bias of the source may be addressed along with the writer’s reaction to the source. It may also evaluate the research used in the source as well as the reliability of the source.
Poniatowska, Elena. Las soldaderas: women of the Mexican Revolution.El Paso: Cinco Punto Press, 2006. Print.
Elena Poniatowska’s lyrical narrative accompanies a selection of photographs from the Casasola collection, taken in Mexico 1910-1921 of the soldaderas, the women who accompanied the Mexican soldiers during the Mexican Revolution. Little is known about these women, of whom Poniatowska says: “Without the soldaderas, there is no Mexican Revolution…” This is the first time the public has seen the photographs in this collection, documenting the Mexican Revolution. This selection of historic photos with Poniatowska’s narrative fills a niche where there is currently little comparable scholarship.
How is this different from an abstract? An abstract is a paragraph that describes or summarizes the contents of a source. An annotation contains some description, but it is also a critical analysis of the source.
Some annotations are merely descriptive, summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments. Your professor might also ask you to identify the authors' theoretical frameworks.
Many annotations evaluate the quality of scholarship in a book or article. You might want to consider the logic of authors' arguments, and the quality of their evidence. Your findings can be positive, negative, or mixed.
Most annotations will answer a number of the questions below...