Annotated Bibliography

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“An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents [arranged in alphabetical order]. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.” http://guides.library.cornell.edu/annotatedbibliography

Odds are you will probably have to write an annotated bibliography as part of a paper at some point in your college career. If you’ve never had to do one before, it can seem overwhelmingly daunting, and if you have ever done one before, you know how aggravating they can be. Annotated bibliographies usually are a dreaded element of a paper for most students, even English majors. But they don’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, apart from being tedious to write, they can be rather easy. Below I’ve made an outline for what should be included in most annotated bibliographies. Just one or two sentences on each of these subtopics and you will find yourself with a well-rounded annotation. Note that not all of these areas have to be covered in every annotated bibliography, but the more you use, the more complete it will be. Don’t forget to also make sure that all the questions your professor specifically wants answered are in your annotations as well.

  1. What type of article is it?
    1. Online/Print
      1. What type of internet source
        1. Ebook
        2. Website article
        3. Online journal
        4. Etc.
      2. What type of print source
        1. Book
        2. Journal
        3. Etc.
      3. Subject of article
  2. Who wrote it?
    1. Author
    2. Publisher/Company
  3.  Audience?
    1. Who are the people the article is targeting?
      1. Professionals in that field
      2. Students
      3. Parents
      4. General public
      5. Etc.
  4. Summary of article
    1. 2-3 sentences is generally plenty
  5. Does it acknowledge an opposing side?
    1. Yes/no
    2. How will this affect how you use the source in your paper
  6. Is there a bias?
    1. Yes/no
      1. If the article is persuasive than there is a bias.
      2. If the article is based on solid facts than there isn’t a bias.
    2. How will the presence of a bias (or the lack of a bias) affect how you use this source in your paper? Note: Biases aren’t necessarily bad. You may need others’ opinions to strengthen an argument.
  7. Is it a credible source?
    1. Yes/no
      1. Is the company, organization, or person’s facts trustworthy?
        1. What makes them trustworthy?
      2. How will the credibility (or lack of credibility) affect how you use this source in your paper?
        1. Hint: if you answered “no” on this section, than you really shouldn’t use this source in your paper.
  8. What type of information will you use from the article?
    1. Statistics
    2. Quotes
    3. Concepts or ideas
    4. General info
  9. How will it help your paper?
    1. How you plan to use the information to enhance your paper.

Example of a simple annotated bibliography:

Nemours. TeensHealth. Ed. MD Mary L. Gavin. 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.                                                                                                 This health and wellness article comes from a website that is designed and run by Nemours, a hospital and clinic cooperation. The article is a great source of information on nutritional facts; therefore there is not much ground for a bias because it sticks to facts found in the latest scientific research. It explains what foods a young adult should be consuming daily and shows examples and pictures to make sure the important information gets across to its audience. The article also discusses the most common college dining hall mistakes and provides other worthy tips on how to stay healthy during the school year. The purpose of this work, as well as the rest of the website, is to help educate both college students and the general public on how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Due to the fact that Nemours, a well-known medical group, wrote this article, I find it is a very credible source and can trust the facts it provides. I am planning on using the information provided by this article to explain what is absent in a typical college student’s diet if they constantly choose fatty, harmful foods as well as to help parents see that they need to teach their children about the importance of nutrition before they leave for school.