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WRT 101 - East (Leighou) Writing I: Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

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.

Example Entry:

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-to Guides:

Difference Between Annotations and Abstracts

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.

 Abstracts

  • Summarizes the work
  • Are usually short
  • Normally do not include an evaluation of the work itself

Annotations

  • Includes an evaluation of or critical comments on the work.
  • The evaluation can include apparent biases, questions of credibility, and the originality of the research.
  • Annotation helps the reader know whether the work cited will be helpful to a specific research topic.

Parts of an Annotation (MLA Annotation)

General guidelines

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...

  • Author information: Who is the author and what is her/his educational/professional background? Is the author qualified to write about the topic?
  • Purpose of work: What is the purpose of the work? Why shoudl it be in your annotated bibliography?
  • Audience: To what audience is the author writing (scholars, teachers, the general public, etc.)? Is this reflected in the author's style of writing or presentation?
  • Author bias: Does the author state or show any biases in the work? Does the author make assumptions that conflict with or lessen the authority of the work? If so, what are they?
  • Methodological information: How was the "data" obtained for the work?
  • Conclusion: What conclusions does the author draw? Why are the conclusions important to you?
  • Conclusion justification: Are the conclusions justified from the research or experience? Do the conclusions sync with the original purpose of the research and work?  Are they supported by the data? Are the conclusions skewed by bias? Are they helpful to your research?
  • Relationship to other works: How does this work compare with others cited? Does it conflict with conventional wisdom or established scholarship?  Why is the work important to whatyou are doing?
  • Time frame: Is the work current? Is this important? How does the time in which it was written reflect on the information contained in this work

 

MLA Annotated Bibliography

Do and Do Not

Do...

  • Summarize the central theme/scope of the article
  • Explain how this resource ties into the purpose or idea of your project 
  • Include information on the author

Do not...

  • Write a "thumbs-up/thumbs-down review 
  • Skim the article, read it carefully before writing 
  • Copy and paste the abstract

More Sample Annotations