An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources about a particular topic, in which each citation is followed by a brief annotation or discussion of the source. The annotation usually consists of just one paragraph, but your instructor may require more. An annotated bibliography is useful for documenting your research in a specific area, exploring varying viewpoints, and summarizing main points from different sources. Format requirements of an annotated bibliography vary greatly from one documentation style to another; please refer to a style manual for specific format requirements (ex: MLA, APA, CBE, Chicago Style, etc.). There are two parts to every entry in an annotated bibliography: the citation and the annotation.
The citation includes the bibliographic information of the source. The documentation style required for this information depends upon your particular academic field and will usually be assigned by your teacher (some common styles include MLA, APA, CBE, and Chicago Style). Follow the instructions for the assignment and the guidelines in the appropriate documentation handbook. Citations are organized alphabetically.
Sample Journal Citation in Chicago Style format:
Gilbert, Pam. “From Voice to Text: Reconsidering Writing and Reading in the English Classroom.” English Education 23.4 (1991): 195-211.
The annotation is a brief paragraph following the citation.
Purpose of the Annotation: the annotation of a source can serve several different purposes; your teacher will require your annotation to provide the following:
Relevance: 2-3 sentences indicating how the source is connected to your topic.
Reliability: 2-3 sentences to evaluate how the source is credible/believable.
Usefulness: 2-3 sentences as to how the source will support your thesis argument.
The length of an annotation depends upon the assignment. Shorter annotations will most likely cover only main points and themes; longer annotations may require a more in-depth description, discussion, or evaluation of the source. Consult the specific requirements for your assignment as your teacher may dictate a word count or length for each annotation.
See the opposite side of this handout for sample annotated bibliography entries . . .
Sample Annotated Bibliography (Chicago Style) IMPORTANT NOTES:
Format for annotated bibliographies depends upon their intended use. If you are composing one for a class assignment, your teacher will tell you what format to follow.
The focus of the following sample annotated bibliography entries is from Purdue’s OWL website. Note: to reduce paper consumption, use single space lines for both the citation and the annotation. However, double space between the citation and annotation.
Always use alphabetical order.
Use your Chicago Style Manual given in class to complete your citations accurately.
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