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Beyond Google: Research for College Success

The Assignment: Explanation, Process, and Examples of Annotations

What is an annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) 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.

Annotations vs Abstracts

You might be thinking that the above description sounds just like an abstracts.  Well, not really.  Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.

The Process

Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style. (i.e. APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.)

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that:

  1. evaluate the authority or background of the author,
  2. comment on the intended audience
  3. compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or
  4. explain how this work illuminates your research topic.

Choosing the correct citation style

Check with your instructor to find out which style is preferred for your class. Online citation guides for both the American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago, and the Modern Language Association (MLA) styles and the are linked from the Library's Citation Guide Webpage

Below is an example of what your annotation bibliography should look like in MLA format:



Credit: This webpage was adapted from a webguide on "How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography" by Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Guidelines to Create an Annotated Bibliography for LIB102

Your final project is to compile an annotated bibliography in which you will organize summaries of research that you will later draw from when composing a research paper. (For those of you who have not encountered an annotated bibliography assignment before, please read the description above).  The good news is there is NO 5-page or 10-page research paper to write; however, (and more good news), the annotations for this final project will be compiled and revised weekly, over 4 weeks.  There is no bad news! 

Your annotated bibliography for this final project should contain 7-10 sources, and the summary for each source should run 140-150 words.  Sources in your annotated bibliography should be listed in alphabetical order by author and cited in your style of choice (i.e., MLA, APA, etc).  

It goes without saying that your assignment should contain the standard introduction at the top-left of your page (your name, my name, course name, and date), and that your pages should be numbered. Lastly, don't forget to include the TITLE of the topic of your paper, and keywords utilized, with every draft you submit.

ALL of your sources must be retrieved from OneSearch.   At least three (3) of your sources should be articles from journals, magazines, or newspapers.  At least three (3) of your sources should be from non-print sources, such as websites, videos, films, podcasts, YouTube, etc..  

Points will be given towards (and see rubric below):

(i) quality of sources selected;

(ii) your ability to coherently and comprehensively summarize your sources;

(iii) notation of bias/slant, if evident; and

(iv) proper citations of sources in the style chosen (i.e. MLA, APA, etc), arranged in alphabetical order by last name of author. 

Please review each summary to ensure correct grammar and spelling.

Rubric for Grading the Annotated Bibliography

Objectives 0 points 5 points 7 points 10 points
Format No standard introduction in top left of document, nor research question title, no pagination included.  No citation style noted. Annotation is less than 75 words.  Two of the following were omitted: the standard introduction in top left of document, research question title, or pagination. Annotations are over 75 words but less than 99 words. One of the following were omitted: the standard introduction in top left of document, research question title, or pagination. Annotations are 100 words but less than 139 words. Document is well formatted with standard introduction in top left of document, research question title, and pagination. Annotations for each are 140 words or more.
Appropriate sources found to support topic Source was not retrieved from specified sources.  Student has not found appropriate source related to topic. Sources are not introduced nor evaluated.  Sources selected do not relate to topic chosen. Annotations do not  include introductions nor evaluations.  A selection of reliable sources selected to support the main points of the topic chosen.  Annotations include brief introductions and/or evaluations.  High quality, reliable sources selected to support the main points of the topic chosen, along with appropriate introductions and evaluations of items.
Citations in MLA or APA format Multiple (seven or more) errors in citation in the style chosen.  Six or less errors in each citation in the style chosen. Three or less errors in each citation in the style chosen. Every citation is correctly written in style chosen.
Grammar and Writing Multiple (seven or more) spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors, and poor writing. Six or less spelling, grammar,  or punctuation errors, and poor writing. Three or less spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors and quality writing. No spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors and high quality writing.

Each submitted draft of the Annotated Bibliography will earn up to 40 points.  The final Annotated Bibliography will earn double points, up to 80 points.