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WGS 100 & 200 Prof. Fisher Annotated Bibliography: Home

How To Write an Annotated Bibliography

WRITING AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Prof. M. Laskin

Adapted and revised from Writing Across the Curriculum by Sandra Nagy (via Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)

Why write an annotated bibliography?

  • You get to know your subject or topic better because before you write an annotation, you must read it carefully and think about what facts and analysis or opinions it offers you on your research topic.
  • In the process of finding and reading sources, you are also focusing your topic better because you are “weeding out” those sources that do not really focus on what you are interested in writing about.

Rules to follow:

1. Take your sources one at a time.
2. Answer the questions in complete sentences.
3. Use present tense.
 

Three questions to ask as you start to write your annotation:

  • What are the main, or most significant ideas of this source?
  • What is the author trying to do (purpose)?
  • How will this source help you in your research paper?

Combine the Answers:

Example: Smith focuses on the dropping illiteracy levels among school children, categorizing socioeconomic levels, racial groups, and parents’ educational background. Smith attempts to convince his readers that most children do poorly in school because their parents don’t work with them in home study sessions. This article is helpful to me because I can use it to discuss my topic of how student success in school is affected by their parents.

Three more questions:

  • Is there any bias or slant in the source? (Does the author have a specific opinion s/he is trying to convince the reader is correct, especially about a controversial topic? Or is the author trying to present information neutrally?)
  • Are there obvious omissions that seem important to the ideas being discussed?
  • Does the evidence clearly support the author’s main points?

Example: While Smith’s data supports his position, his solutions seem too simplistic and very general. Because he ignores the busy schedules, as well as the attitudes and expectations of some parents, his “just do it” advice doesn’t seem likely to change the situation.

Extra Tips:

  • Use the author’s last name to refer to the article and use present tense to write the annotation.
  • Write SHORT paragraphs.
  • Combine answers (in your sentences) where possible.
  • Use an MLA type Works Cited page with a paragraph of analysis for each source.

 Last Points:

  • Use alphabetical order.
  • Double space everything.
  • Use a “hanging indent” for each entry.

Christine de Pizan Annotated Bibliography Examples

Assignment Instructions

Your Annotated Bibliography

Grading Rubric for Annotated Bibliographies

Your Annotated Bibliography is a compilation of three scholarly resources that teach you about the gender issue you’ve chosen to research.

Each bibliographic entry (the citation) is followed by a 100-150 word annotation that provides:

(1) The main idea(s) including a relevant quotation from the source and (2) a sentence that evaluates the usefulness of each of the three articles you’ve read: Is it accurate? Does it provide important information? Is it unbiased? Is it comprehensive, including important perspectives on the topic?  Or does this article seem incomplete? (It's not enough to say, "This source is useful"--explain why or how ! ) Note that you might conclude that a particular source is somewhat useful, and then in your annotation, you'd briefly explain what is helpful to your research on this topic and what in this source is problematic or incomplete, for example, and therefore not useful. 

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. You will automatically fail the assignment if you plagiarize. Be sure you know how to avoid plagiarism when researching sources online and in professional journals or books.

In short, below are the four criteria used to evaluate your annotated bibliography. 

See also the rubric for grading under Assignments.      Have you selected relevant, reputable and different sources from our Library's databases?

  • Have you summarized the source(s) clearly and succinctly (100-150 words for each), correctly including within the summary one quotation from each source that is relevant to or illustrates the main ideas?
  • Have you properly formatted your sources, MLA style (models provided)?
  • Have you described specifically how each source helps you (or doesn’t help you) to understand and learn about the topic under investigation?

 

Prof. Miriam Laskin, Academic Librarian

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