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The Annotated Bibliography   Tags: analysis, annotations, bibliographic style, bibliography, critical thinking, reading  

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

What is an Annotated Bibliography? Print Page

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of references to resources; books, articles, chapters, webpages. It should be in the relevant bibliographic style eg. MLA, Harvard, APA. Check with your department which bibliographic style you should use.

Following each reference is a short, around 150-200 words paragraph which evaluates the resource. This is the annotation.

The annotation should inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and the quality of the resources referenced.


Elements of the annotation

Critical evaluation of a resource can be a challenge.
Consider the following to help order your thoughts while constructing the annotation:

Authority =  Who wrote it? What are their credentials? (i.e. PhD, Professor, Journalist, Commentator)

Audience = Who is the intended audience – eg. Researchers? Students? Consumers?

Relevance = How relevant is the resource to your own research?

Compare = How does the resource sit in the wider literature? Does it support similar arguments/make similar conclusions? Does it provide a contrasting view?

Arguments/Conclusion - Have the author(s) made any conclusions? What methods were used for evaluation?

Limitations/exclusions = Are there any limitations in the work/methods/conclusions?


Key points for a successful annotated bibliography

  • Make sure you are critically evaluating each resource. This demonstrates your ability to identify arguments and show how they apply to your own research project. 

  • Keep the annotation succinct.

  • Make sure you are using the relevant bibliographic style.

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