Bibliographies are used to cite sources that are used in a research paper. An annotatedbibliography is more than a mere list of sources. It includes:
- A summary - includes information that explains what information the source provides
- An evaluation - explains why or how the notation is a useful source. It can also speak to the validity of the source in terms of its scholarly nature
- An explanation of value - speaks to the relevance of the citation to the research paper
Some annotated bibliographies offer only summaries, while others offer all three components. It is important to assess what the audience of the research paper will be seeking before crafting an annotated bibliography.
Annotated Bibliography Format Styles
Summary Format Styles
The basic format of an annotated bibliography is the same as a non-annotated bibliography entry. The difference is that the publication information about the source material is followed with the annotation that reviews and evaluates the material.
Here are the two basic format styles:
APA (American Psychological Association) Style
StyleBaker, T. (1995). Gun control and You. Stevenson Learning Law Review, 45 (2), 180-193. The author researches several federal and state firearms regulations and their effect on the everyday citizen. By testing his hypothesis that firearms regulations have an inherent effect on everyday citizens, findings yield in support of the hypothesis. In contrast, Baker cited in an earlier study the complete opposite findings.
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style
StyleJohnson, Jaime. "Gun Control: Your Only Means of Defense.” Researcher's Special Journal (1999): 254-325. Print. The author researches several federal and state firearms regulations and their effect on the everyday citizen. By testing his hypothesis that firearms regulations have an inherent effect on everyday citizens, findings yield in support of the hypothesis. In contrast, Baker cited in an earlier study the complete opposite.
Full 3-Component Format Style
Crohn’s and Colitis - An Annotated Bibliography
Crohn’s and Colitis Drug Effective in Trials. (2013). Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265128.php
Published on the website Medical News Today, this article discusses the research findings of two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vedoluzimab is a drug being tested to help Crohn’s and Colitis patients deal with the debilitating effects of these diseases. The article briefly outlines the research suggesting effectiveness of the drug.
MediLexicon International, the publisher of the article, is a U.K. based health care internet publishing company that is dedicated to providing top notch unbiased content. Publishing since 2003, this reputable company’s articles are reliable for use for research support.
Glover, Sonia B. Coping With Crohn’s, The Pain and The Laughter. Newfoundland and Labrador: Boulder Publications. 2007. Print
This insightful account of one woman’s struggles with her symptoms and diagnosis of Crohn’s provides valuable personal information for those struggling with Crohn’s.
Published by Boulder Publications, a self-proclaimed “publisher of high quality books,” this book is a useful tool to understand Crohn’s disease. It is a reliable resource for anecdotal information about Crohn’s disease.
Linking Vitamin D Deficiency to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. (2013). Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Journal. Retrieved from: http://journals.lww.com/ibdjournal/Fulltext/2013/09000/Linking_Vitamin_D_Deficiency_to_Inflammatory_Bowel.26.aspx
A comprehensive scholarly article about the links between Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, this piece offers scientific information about how Vitamin D works within the body, and information from a wide variety of doctors and researchers that supports a link between the vitamin and IBD disorders.
Scientific and evidence based, this journal article from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundations of America’s journal is a highly useful resource to support the topic of this paper.
No Reservations - How to Take the Worry Out of Eating Out. (2013). CCFA: Take Charge Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/diningout.pdf
An insightful article, this piece gives information to those suffering with Crohn’s and Colitis to help to ease the anxiety and stress of eating outside of the home.
Including information that is research based, and published by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, this resource is highly reliable and gives a useful context for the information within this research paper.
Creating an Annotated Bibliography
Some tips for creating a well-annotated bibliography include:
- Consider which writing style is required of your research. One of the things to keep in mind about APA and MLA format is that there is a distinguishing difference. For example, MLA format is usually double spaced within the citation and between each citation.
- Use the third person when writing.
- Make a list of the points which the author emphasized as relative to the topic that you were researching.
- Make sure that the sources which you used are aligned or in agreement with your stance on the research issue. This will helps to make a stronger argument for your stance on the issue that you researched.
In summary, the key to writing a complete and properly formatted annotated bibiography is to review your source material, take detailed notes, select the format to be used for the annotations. Summarize the content, providing information that describes and evaluates the source material.
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Examples of Annotated Bibliography
By YourDictionaryBibliographies are used to cite sources that are used in a research paper. An annotated bibliography is more than a mere list of sources. It includes:A summary - includes information that explains what information the source providesAn evaluation - explains why or how the notation is a useful source. It can also speak to the validity of the source in terms of its scholarly natureAn explanation of value - speaks to the relevance of the citation to the research paperSome annotated bibliographies offer only summaries, while others offer all three components. It is important to assess what the audience of the research paper will be seeking before crafting an annotated bibliography.
An annotated bibliography contains a list of sources, with a paragraph summarising each source's content and purpose. Each source begins with a fully referenced citation, followed by the paragraph.
The 'annotation' refers to the paragraph, which aims to briefly summarise and evaluate the content of the source. The sources you select for your bibliography should focus on the same topic area.
The purpose of each annotation is to evaluate how well a particular source has addressed the topic area in its own way.
How long is the annotation?
For university assignments, 100-250 words per annotation is an average length. Sometimes annotations can be very brief with only one or two sentences. However, the assignment instructions usually specify the word limit for each annotation. If in doubt, check with your course coordinator or lecturer.
What information should I include in my annotation?
An annotation differs from an abstract, which presents an overall summary of the key issues, processes used and outcomes. You definitely need to include a summary of the key issues identified in your chosen source. However, you need to go beyond just a summary. Your annotation should provide an evaluation of the source. This evaluation can address the following five criteria:
- Focus: How is the topic approached within the source? Is this approach narrow or broad in scope? Is this a central source in the topic area or is it located on the periphery?
- Relevance: Is the source appropriate for its intended audience? Could any areas be improved? How well qualified is the author in the topic area? Is the author more or less qualified than others who have published in the field?
- Quality: Are the arguments logically presented? Do the arguments make sense? Is scholarly evidence used to support points? Are alternative perspectives acknowledged? Are topics covered in enough depth? Have opposing pieces of evidence been omitted? Does the information summarise what others have said or does it offer something new? Is the information based on primary data, originating in the topic's context (e.g. diary entries from soldiers in WWII or data collected by a researcher studying the topic); secondary data, based on reports which summarise events or others' research findings; or a combination?
- Accuracy: How recent is the source? Even if it is a recent source, published within the last 2 years, does it refer to recently published material? Can some of the ideas be supported by other sources you have read in the area?
- General structure and design: Are clear introductory and concluding sections provided within each chapter? Is there a glossary of terms or abbreviations used within the source? Is there an index? If so, is it comprehensive? Do chapter titles clearly identify the nature of the topic under study? Is the information divided into clearly identified sub-sections, which help with understanding the development of ideas?
A more detailed list of questions to ask when evaluating a source can be found at the page on critical reading.
How do I start?
Take time to select a topic that leads to enough sources. Narrow this down so that you achieve a variety of approaches to the topic and source types (books, chapters in edited books, journal articles). This variation should offer opportunities for comparison and evaluation. Once you have selected the number of sources required for your assignment, begin with the source you think is the most central. This will give you a broad overview of the key issues being debated within the selected topic.
Make notes in order to summarise the key points, keeping in mind the word limit. Use the five criteria (focus, relevance, quality, accuracy, and general structure and design) to establish the strengths and weaknesses about the source, as appropriate.
Continue this procedure with each source, noting where there are similarities and differences among sources. These comparisons provide the opportunities for establishing further evaluation as you proceed to annotate each source.
Who would find an annotated bibliography useful?
Interested readers may want to find out if it is worth reading a specific source within your chosen area. Your annotated bibliography will provide useful information for them to judge what sources would be most and least relevant. Others may find the information useful because it provides a broad overview of the level of debate presented within a topic area. Further, you may find that the annotated bibliography offers valuable information to develop a literature review or even an essay.
Sample annotated bibliography
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Last updated on 4 March, 2013