RWA12: Annotated Bibliography

  1. Prepare an Annotated Bibliography of your sources

A Sample Annotated Bibliography was handed out in class.  Please refer to that as a model as you complete this assignment.

Annotated Bibliographies


bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called “References” or “Works Cited” depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.

  • Summarize: What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?
  • Describe: What types of information are included in the article?
  • Explain the Purpose of the Article in the Context of Your Research Project: Why is this article useful to you? What is unique about it? What does it contribute to your project?  How does it fit into the scholarly conversation about your topic?

Why should I write an annotated bibliography?

To learn about your topic: Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you’re forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you’ll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you’ll then be able to develop your own point of view.

To help other researchers: Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic.

Format and Guidelines for Annotated Bibliography

The bibliographic information: We will be using MLA format for the bibliographic citations.

The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of paragraphs. The annotations for our course will consist of the following:

First sentence: Summary of primary purpose/argument of the article

Next two to three sentences: Description of the types of information provided in the article and the evidence used to support the primary purpose/argument.  Explanation of how this article relates to other research/sources on the topic and why it is important in the context of your research project specifically.

Here is another example of a very lengthy annotated bibliography dedicated to the topic of Digital Libraries and their Creation and Management