Preparing an Annotated Bibliography
Some research projects and assignments require you to complete an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is a useful way to start a research project because it asks you to collect and summarize sources that you might use later in a research paper. Collecting and summarizing sources early in the research process helps you narrow your research topic. The bibliography can also help you evaluate the possible usefulness of source material for later use in a paper.
For this assignment, your task is to create an annotated bibliography.
What is an annotated bibliography?
An annotation is simply a summary of a source, such as an article, book, or other written reference. A bibliography (or ‘Works Cited’ page) is a list of sources on a particular topic. An annotated bibliography, then, is a list of sources on a topic with a brief summary for each.
An annotated bibliography has two parts. The first part is the bibliography line (the source citation), which should be formatted according to whichever format you’re using (MLA, APA, or Chicago Style). The second part is the summary paragraph. Both parts taken together are called an entry, and entries are typically organized in alphabetical order according to the bibliography information, such as the last name of an author or the title of a source.
When writing a summary of a source, writers should: include the following:
- a sentence or two describing the author’s credentials, the source’s purpose, and the intended audience;
- a brief overview of the source content; and
- a sentence concluding the summary that explains why you think this source is valuable and how you might use it in your project as support.
- Sample Student Annotated Bibliography (from Indiana University’s Writing Center)