Annotated bibliography

Annotated bibliography
https://glowriters.com/ Annotated bibliography

It goes much deeper into writing than just skimming through sources and writing down citations. An annotated bibliography purpose is a commentary along with each source to show the authenticity of the citation. For a student who has less time to have free time, these commentaries can be quite detail-oriented and time-consuming. That is why we at glowriters.com are here to help you make your research papers, dissertations, thesis and so on have best-annotated bibliography. This is done according to our annotated bibliography checklist.
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• A summary of the source: What are the main arguments? What is the point of the article? What topics did this source cover?
• An evaluation of the source: Was the source useful? Why did you include it in the bibliography? How does it compare in value to your other sources? Did you find the information in the article/book to be credible? Did it display an objective view?
• Reflection of the source: How did this source fit into your paper? What are your personal reflections on its viability and contributions? Does it change the way you think about your topic?
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A Complete Guide to the MLA & APA Annotated Bibliography

If you’ve just received an assignment that requires an MLA or APA annotated bibliography, you may be wondering where to start. This guide will help answer all of your questions and includes step-by-step instructions on how to do an annotated bibliography in MLA style, as well as an APA annotated bibliography. You will also find sample annotated bibliographies, real-life examples, and opportunities to practice what you have learned.

The MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) are not associated with this guide. All of the information provided here, however, offers direction for students and researchers who use these citation styles in their work.

The structures and annotated bibliography templates on this page were created by the in-house librarians at Glowriters.com.

If you’re simply looking for an example of an annotated bibliography (both in bibliography MLA format and APA format), scroll down towards the bottom of the page. We’ve included screenshots to provide a visual for those of you who need help with the structure and styling of an annotated bibliography. If you’re looking for a variety of annotated bibliography topics, and you’re truly searching for the answer to, “what is an annotated bibliography?,” then continue reading!

Table of contents

    What is an annotated bibliography?

    Why include annotations?

    Step 1: Analyze your sources

    Step 2: Write the descriptions

    Step 3a: Formatting an MLA style annotated bibliography

    Step 3b: Formatting an APA style annotated bibliography

    Annotated Bibliography Templates

    Using the Glowriters.com Annotation Tool

What is an annotated bibliography?

A bibliography is a complete list of the sources that were used to complete a research paper or project.

Depending on the style guide you follow, you may also see this called a Works Cited (also called an MLA bibliography) or Reference List (APA format). Each listed source, or citation, shares information about the author, title, publishing year, and other details that serve to credit the original authors whose work informed your research. These details also help other students and researchers find and read the source materials.

When your research is related to a scholastic assignment, you should always verify your instructor’s requirements for the types and number of sources to include, as well as the style you should adhere to when formatting your paper and bibliography.

An MLA annotated bibliography and an APA format annotated bibliography are bibliographies that include a concise explanation, or annotation, of each listed source. Depending on the assignment, this annotation may be solely descriptive, or analytical.

Annotations vs Abstract

An abstract and annotation should not be confused; they differ in both their substance as well as their placement in a paper.

Annotations:

    Usually found in bibliographies

    Are subjective

    Purpose is to summarize and evaluate. It should briefly communicate the work’s main point, but also discuss the background of the author or study, and the strengths/weaknesses of the work.

Abstracts:

    Usually found in journal databases

    Are objective

Purpose is to summarize. It should provide a short overview of the article and communicate the main points and themes.

If you would like to learn more, this link further explores the difference between an abstract and an annotation.

This resource provides additional information on how to write a bibliography with annotations in other formats. You can also take advantage of the plagiarism checker and bibliography tools that come with Glowriters.com Plus to help you create your reference lists.

Why include annotations?

Before you learn how to make an annotated bibliography, you may be wondering why you need to.

Sometimes instructors want you to create and include annotations in your bibliography, either as part of an assignment or as an assignment unto itself. Understanding the purpose of this approach to your references list can help to ensure that you gain all of the benefits that the annotated bibliography process provides.

As a student, this method will help you develop or hone your research skills, providing you with practice not only in locating sources but also in analyzing and evaluating them for relevance and quality.

Your instructor will gain insight into your research abilities, as well, allowing them to assess your work more thoroughly. If you plan to publish your research, this comprehensive approach to detailing your sources will provide readers and other researchers with a substantial directory of resources to evaluate for their own work.

Whether you’re publishing or submitting your annotated bibliography, make sure your spelling and wording is correct! If you need to brush up on any parts of speech topics, check out our interjection, determiner, and adverb pages!

Step 1: Analyze your sources

Each annotation should be a summarization or analysis of your source. If you have been tasked with writing annotations as part of a research paper or project, begin to create both the citation and notes on the source while you identify and analyze your sources.

Not only will this approach help you to hone your research skills and identify sources that are relevant and useful for your topic, but you will also save time. When done in this manner, both your citations and annotations will be nearly complete before you begin to write the body of your paper.

Analyzing your potential sources requires a two-pronged approach that first evaluates the author, publication, and date, and then examines the content.

When conducting your initial assessment of the source, consider some of the following questions to guide your appraisal:

    What qualifies the author to write on this subject?

    Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution in this field?

    Is the author credentialed or otherwise considered an expert in this field?

    Is this source current?

    Is this the most recent edition?

    Is the publisher reputable?

    Is the journal reputable?

Once your primary evaluation is complete, you will move on the assessing the content itself. Consider some of these elements as you review each source:

    Who is the intended audience?

    Is the author presenting her opinion or interpretation as the truth, or stating facts?

    What supporting evidence does the author provide?

    Did the author perform the research, or curate and present the research of others?

    If the author used the research of others, are the sources the author cites credible?

    Are there errors or omissions of fact?

    Is the author writing objectively and without bias?

Also, consider the value each source provides to you:

    Is the information helpful for your particular assignment?

    Does it help answer your research question(s)?

    Is this source different from your other sources, or does it repeat information you already have?

    Is the source providing you with a different perspective on your topic, or changing your beliefs or thinking about your subject?

To make it easier for you to create your reference page, write your notes in the format you will be using when you construct this part of the assignment. Once you have identified all of the sources you wish to include, you will merely need to insert what you have already written on the page and write your introduction, which is explained in the next section.

Click here for additional information and a supplementary annotated bibliography sample. For an MLA bibliography example (with annotations), scroll down and check out our visual example of an MLA annotated bibliography below.

Step 2: Write the descriptions

An annotated bibliography entry may be written either as direct phrases or complete sentences. Your instructor will advise you of which approach you are required to take.

Annotations should include either:

  • The main points from the source, as well as the topics covered, the approach used and any findings.
  • Or your critical evaluation.

Tips:

  • A standard annotation is approximately one paragraph.
  • Take care not to include any unnecessary details, as the goal is to summarize each source as succinctly as possible and, in some cases, evaluate them.
  • Your field of study or instructor will determine what format your annotated bibliography will use. In this guide, you’ll find examples of an MLA and an APA annotated bibliography.

Example:

Here is an annotated bibliography example MLA annotation for the book The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by UK author and blogger Mark Forsyth:

The author, Mark Forsyth, examines the rhetorical devices used in the English language, analyzing the patterns and formats that create memorable quotes. He traces the history of rhetoric to the Ancient Greeks, and provides an abridged timeline, following their use and evolution through to modern day. The author also explores the broader subject of persuasion and maps out the role that the figures of rhetoric play in it. In all, he examines over thirty devices, dissecting notable passages and phrases from pop music, the plays of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more to explore the figures of rhetoric at work within each of them. Thorough definitions accompany this examination of structure to demonstrate how these formulas have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects.

Notice how the annotated bibliography MLA entry above is descriptive enough so the reader has an idea of what the source is about with just a single paragraph. For more information on annotations, check out this informative site. If you’re looking to strengthen your writing in general, reading these grammar guides could be a good start.

For guidance on creating entries in MLA format, APA format, and more styles, check out the Glowriters.com library of resources or try the Glowriters.com annotation tool—we talk about it below!

Step 3a: MLA annotated bibliography format

The MLA Style Center provides the following guidance for formatting an MLA annotated bibliography:

    Title your reference page as “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”

    Place each annotation after its reference.

    Annotations should typically not exceed a single paragraph.

    Organize sources alphabetically by the first word in each reference.

    Double-space all text on the page.

    1-inch margins around the page.

For a visual example of an annotated bibliography, as well as specific annotation examples, visit the MLA annotated bibliography guide.

If you are required to share your references in a manner other than in MLA bibliography format, the Glowriters.com style guides can help you with many common styles. While you’re at it, check out their conjunction, preposition, and pronoun pages to help keep your paper in mint condition!

Step 3b: APA annotated bibliography format

The American Psychological Association states that your instructor should set the guidelines for your annotated bibliography, but asks that the bibliography be formatted according to their standard reference page rules (see Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual). If your teacher has requested an APA formatted annotated bibliography, first ask them for guidelines. Otherwise, here are some quick rules for you to follow:

    1-inch margins around the page.

    Double space all text on the page.

    Title your page “Annotated Bibliography”. Bold and center the title.

    Organize references alphabetically by the first word of each reference.

    Only the first line of a reference is flush with the left margin. Any other lines after the first line should be indented ½ inch from the left.

    Add annotations on the next line after their paired reference. 

    Fully indent annotations by a ½ inch from the left.

    Keep annotations short. No more than one paragraph.

For examples of a properly formatted APA annotation, visit this guide on APA annotated bibliographies.

In comparison to the sample annotated bibliography MLA, the APA sample formats its page elements and references differently.

Annotated Bibliography Templates

Students and researchers who type their research notes can save time by using an annotated bibliography template in MLA format while reviewing and analyzing sources. By adding the relevant information into a pre-formatted template, you’ll create a resource that helps you when you begin writing your paper in addition to saving time by completing your references and summaries alongside your research.

Students who prefer to take notes by hand can employ a modified version of this approach, with an additional step required to transfer your handwritten and formatted references from your notebook to populate your reference page.

Bibliography Template for MLA

To create an annotated bibliography MLA template, copy the following details into the program in which you will take notes or hand write it on the top margin of a page in your notebook. For each source, use this template to guide you as you identify the necessary details and insert them into your notes:

    Author (last name, first name).

    Title of source.

    Title of the container,

    Other contributors (names and roles),

    Version,

    Number,

    Publisher,

    Publication Date,

    Location of the source (such as URL or page range).

    Summary or Analysis.

The MLA 8 model for MLA works cited entries offers a single format for all source types, and a great deal of flexibility to include the information most relevant to your topic and omit that which isn’t.

Hopefully our visual annotated bibliography example in MLA above has helped. If you still have lingering questions, visit the MLA Style Center online (linked here). Also, here’s a guide if you’re looking for more on the related topic of MLA in-text & parenthetical citations.

Bibliography Template for APA

Students and researchers who are still asking themselves how to piece together an annotated bibliography, or still questioning what is an annotated bibliography, could probably benefit from a template, similar to the one above. This one, however, is for those of you who are tasked with creating an annotated bibliography in the style created by the American Psychological Association.

The tricky thing about this specific style though, is that every reference is styled differently. Books, websites, journal articles, newspaper articles, and many others each have their own reference structure.

For most sources though, you should look for the following, basic information:

    Type of source

    Author (last name, first name)

    Title of source/article/web page, etc.

    Title of where source was found (e.g., database name, website name, etc.)

    Other contributors (names and roles)

    Version

    Number

    Publisher

    Publication Date,

    Location of the source (such as URL, DOI, or page range)

    Summary or Analysis

We understand it can get tricky, and it’s very different from the Modern Language Association’s structure for references. Take a moment to either use the other handy guides on Glowriters.com or use our automatic generator to form your references in just a few clicks. Our tools help take the pain away from having to rack your brain to form references properly. Capitals, lowercase letters, italics, quotation marks, punctuation in the appropriate places, it can all be quite overwhelming. Do yourself a favor, and use the Glowriters.com automatic citation generator.

Even though there are a lot of different variations, here’s a commonly used structure for sources:

Author’s Last Name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year the source was published). Title of the source. Retrieved from (insert the website address here)

Underneath the reference, include your summary or analysis paragraph.

Hopefully, this page helped answer all of your “What is an annotated bibliography?” questions. If you’re seeking out an annotated bibliography generator, follow the steps above the annotated bibliography examples.

Looking for additional help with other related topics? Don’t forget about the various beneficial guides on Glowriters.com.com! Our APA in-text citation guide and our APA parenthetical citation guide are two of our most popular pages. Learn the ins and outs of referencing your work in the body of your paper with our thorough, complete, and reader-friendly guides.

Using the Glowriters.com Annotation Tool

If you are creating a bibliography in MLA format, the Glowriters.com MLA bibliography generator can help save you time formatting your citations and annotations correctly. You can create entries for websites, books, videos, databases, dictionary articles, and many other types of sources.

In addition to forming the citations, you can also enter your annotation text to produce the complete entry for each source. The process for this is simple. You can follow along below to practice creating one:

  • First, select the your source type from among the 50+ available options. For this example, we will use the acting career of Keanu Reeves as our research topic and use the movie Point Break from 1991 as our first source. To cite this film, you would select the option for “Film/Online Video.” As you follow along, pick the option that is suitable for your source if you are using a different example.
  • Enter the title of your source or, if you are citing a website, you may enter the URL (now would be a great time to peek at how to cite websites in MLA). After you enter the title or URL for your reference, the Glowriters.com citation tool will scan for titles that match it and provide you with a list of results. Select “cite this” next to the listing that matches your source.
  • You will see a citation form. This gives you the option to add additional relevant or necessary information. For our sample topic, we will specifically cite Keanu Reeves as the performer and Kathryn Bigelow as the director.
  • After entering any additional details, you have the option to expand your entry and include an annotation. To do so, select “Add annotation” at the bottom of the page, and a text box will open up.

Annotated Bibliographies

Definitions

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called “References” or “Works Cited” depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.

  • Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
  • For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.
  • Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  • For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources.
  • Reflect: Once you’ve summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you’re doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.

Why should I write an annotated bibliography?

To learn about your topic: Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you’re forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So, a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you’ll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you’ll then be able to develop your own point of view.

To help other researchers: Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.

Format

The format of an annotated bibliography can vary so if you’re doing one for a class, it’s important to ask for specific guidelines.

The bibliographic information: Generally, though, the bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) is written in either MLA or APA format. For more help with formatting, see our MLA handout. For APA, go here: APA handout.

The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages. The length will depend on the purpose. If you’re just writing summaries of your sources, the annotations may not be very long. However, if you are writing an extensive analysis of each source, you’ll need more space.

You can focus your annotations for your own needs. A few sentences of general summary followed by several sentences of how you can fit the work into your larger paper or project can serve you well when you go to draft.

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

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.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see How to Critically Analyze Information Sources. For information on the author’s background and views, ask at the reference desk for help finding appropriate biographical reference materials and book review sources.

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 Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) styles are linked from the Library’s Citation Management page.

 

 

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