What is an annotated bibliography? A bibliography or works cited provides readers with the author, title and publication details of a source, whereas an annotated bibliography adds a brief summary, or annotation, about each source (book, magazine, journal, etc.). Placed just below the facts of the publication, the annotation describes the content of the work.
When writing the annotation, provide enough information for readers to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the source's purpose, content, and special value. Be sure to use complete sentences and to avoid wordiness.
- Sum up the content of the source, as a book report might.
- Give an overview of the arguments and proofs/evidence addressed in the work and note the resulting conclusion.
- Do not judge the work they are discussing. Leave that to the critical/evaluative annotations.
- When appropriate, they describe the author's methodology or approach to material.
Evaluative annotations don't just summarize. In addition to tackling the points addressed in summary annotations, evaluative annotations:
- Evaluate the source or author critically (biases, lack of evidence, objective, etc.).
- Show how the work may or may not be useful for a particular field of study or audience.
- Explain how researching this material assisted your own project.
Process for Writing an Annotated Bibliography
- List the completed bibliographical citation.
- Explain the main purpose of the work.
- Briefly describe the content.
- Indicate the possible audience for the work.
- Evaluate the relevance of the information.
- Note any special features.
- Warn readers of any defect, weakness, or bias.