Sample Annotated Bibliography
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
Some of your courses at Ashford University will require you to write an Annotated Bibliography. An Annotated Bibliography is a working list of references—books, journal articles, online documents, websites, etc.—that you will use for an essay, research paper, or project. However, each reference citation is followed by a short summative and/or evaluative paragraph, which is called an annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited, and to state how this source will be used in or relevant to the paper or project.
Thus, an Annotated Bibliography has two main parts:
- the citation of your book, article, webpage, video, or document (in APA style)
- your annotation
How to create an Annotated Bibliography.
- Research the required number of scholarly sources from the library for your project.
- Reference each source in APA format. For help on how to format each source, see our sample references list.
- Write two paragraphs under each source:
- The first paragraph is a short summary of the article in your own words. Don’t just cut and paste the abstract of the article.
- The second paragraph is a short discussion of how this source supports your paper topic. What does this source provide that reinforces the argument or claim you are making? This support may be statistics, expert testimony, or specific examples that relate to your focused topic.
Sample Annotated Bibliography Entry
Here is a sample entry from an Annotated Bibliography:
Belcher, D. D. (2004). Trends in teaching English for specific purposes. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24(3), 165-186. doi: 10.1017/S026719050400008X.
This article reviews differing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) trends in practice and in theory. Belcher categorizes the trends into three non-exclusive sects: sociodiscoursal, sociocultural, and sociopolitical. Sociodiscoursal, she postulates, is difficult to distinguish from genre analysis because many of the major players (e.g., Ann Johns) tend to research and write in favor of both disciplines. Belcher acknowledges the preconceived shortcomings of ESP in general, including its emphasis on “narrowly-defined venues” (p. 165), its tendency to “help learners fit into, rather than contest, existing…structures” (p. 166), and its supposed “cookie-cutter” approach. In response to these common apprehensions about ESP, Belcher cites the New Rhetoric Movement and the Sydney School as two institutions that have influenced progressive changes and given more depth to “genre” (p. 167). She concludes these two schools of thought address the issue of ESP pandering to “monologic” communities. Corpus linguistics is also a discipline that is expanding the knowledge base of ESP practitioners in order to improve instruction in content-specific areas. Ultimately, she agrees with Swales (1996) that most genres that could help ESL learners are “hidden…or poorly taught” (p. 167) and the field of genre is only beginning to grasp the multitude of complexities within this potentially valuable approach to the instruction of language—and in turn, writing.
This article provides examples as well as expert opinion that I can use in my project. This will provide me with evidence to support my claims about the current disciplines in ESL studies.
Guidelines for Formatting Your Annotated Bibliography
- Citations should be cited according to APA format.
- Annotations should be indented a half an inch (.5”) so that the author's last name is the only text that is completely flush left.
To see a sample Annotated Bibliography, click here.
What is an Annotated Bibliography
Many students wonder what is an annotated bibliography and it is not surprising: this task can become a real headache, especially for those, who don’t have enough time or desire to process multiple sources. Annotated bibliography is a review of various sources. It can be both a part of a bigger project and a stand-alone assignment. Unlike abstracts, annotations contain critical information on the source, it main ideas and quality.
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If you want to learn more of how to write a perfect work, the list of contents may be more than useful. Your annotation should include:
- Bibliographic citation. You should write the full title, its authors and publishing data;
- Information on the author;
- Main idea of the book/article;
- Highlighting of the main argument;
- Data on the target audience;
- Information on the research methods (if any) and the results;
- Highlighting of the useful information, like graphs, calculations and so on;
- Description of the research relevance for your own paper;
- Weak and strong sides of the source;
- Your personal opinion about the text.
If you are using a proper example, it can help you to avoid many mistakes and difficulties, and give a chance to provide a high-quality paper. Try to avoid such mistakes like performing the task as if it was abstract. You should make sure that you analyze the source, not only summarize it. You should also spend time on reading it to give a full overview, as your professor will surely ask additional questions on the subject. Remember that your annotation should be short and straight to the point: it is not a literature review even though they are very alike. And don’t forget to follow the rules of the indicated formatting style. This will help you greatly in avoiding common mistakes.
Annotated bibliography example
While most of the formatting styles are quite alike, there are still some differences, which should be taken into account.
MLA annotated bibliography, as well as Chicago Manual Style Annotation, should provide bibliographic citation in such an order: surname and name of the author, title of the book, name of the publishing house and the year of publishing.
APA style is slightly different: first, you should indicate the surname of the author with his initials, following the year of publishing in brackets. Then you should indicate the title of the book, publishing house and number of pages if needed.
The structure of MLA and APA is quite similar and should summarize and access the source. The second part of the annotation should contain information on its strong and weak sides, as well as author’s opinion if required.
Annotated bibliography template
Using a sample annotated bibliography, every students gets a chance to avoid common mistakes and shape the annotation according to all the rules and requirements. Luckily, there are not many of them and it is quite easy to provide a proper annotation structure. First, you should provide all the details about the source or the citation, like name of the author, title, publishing house and so on. It should be followed by an annotation (a brief summary) and your personal opinion on the subject. You should analyze the source, providing information on its use for your personal project or for the target audience. This section greatly depends on the demands of your professor.
Annotation is usually arranged alphabetically and should be quite brief (around 100-200 words) if your professor doesn’t have other specific requirements. You should also consult your professor what topics you should highlight in the annotation, based on the aim of the assignment.
Annotated bibliography template will be a vivid example and you will be able to create an outstanding annotation without any mistakes and flaws!
Annotated Bibliography Example MLA
Annotated Bibliography Samples
Annotated Bibliography Template
Chicago Style Annotated Bibliography
Examples of Annotated Bibliography
Sample Annotated Bibliography APA
Annotated bibliography topics
It is not difficult to find annotated bibliography topics to write about. Actually, they are limited only to your imagination and indications of your professor. Here are some topics, which may help you decide what to write about:
- Health care reform;
- Acid raining;
- Genetic engineering;
- Animal testing;
- Gun control;
- Human rights;
- Labor rules;
- History of rock-n-roll;
- Nuclear weapons;
- Extreme sports;
By using an annotated bibliography example, you can avoid common mistakes, get additional information on the structure of annotation and find new ideas to write about. It is a great chance for students, who want to write the paper on their own, but don’t know where to start!