Examples Of Annotated Bibliography Essay
Once upon a time there was a hard-working student who paid close attention to lectures, studied hard, and learned how to cite properly in both MLA and APA format.
The sun shone brightly.
Then one day a dark cloud overshadowed the world. A professor asked the student to write an annotated bibliography. The student grew pale.
She thought she had mastered all things related to citation. She didn’t want to learn how to write anything so terrible sounding as an annotated bibliography.
She closed her eyes tightly and wished her fairy godmother would magically write the annotated bibliography for her.
POOF! Her fairy godmother appeared!
“I will grant your wish….well, sorta,” said the fairy godmother. “I will not write the annotated bibliography for you, but I will teach you how to write one, thus enabling you to use the skill in your future courses.”
She wrote this blog post to teach all students how to write an annotated bibliography that works.
What Is an Annotated Bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is simply a bibliography with annotations. Okay, that doesn’t help much, does it?
Really, though, that’s all it is. You know how to write a Works Cited or Reference page, right? If you’ve mastered this, the next step is to simply add the annotations.
Annotations include a summary of the work, a critique of the author or credibility of the source, and a discussion of whether or not the source will be useful to your research.
Why Write an Annotated Bibliography?
I’m sure you’re saying, “Give me one good reason why I should write an annotated bibliography.” I’ll do better than that. I’ll give you three!
1. It’s a course assignment. If you want to do well in the course, you need to do it. Enough said.
2. An annotated bibliography helps you become a better researcher.
In order to write an annotated bibliography, you need to be able to summarize the source. This means you’ll need to take the time to read it carefully. You can’t just find a source and add it to the list without reading it.
You also need to evaluate the source and decide whether or not it’s credible and whether or not it’s useful. Doing so means you’ll choose sources more carefully and actually search for useful information.
No more picking the first few websites that show up on a Google search and trying to make them fit.
3. An annotated bibliography saves you time.
If you’re writing a research paper with three sources, it’s pretty easy to remember what you read in each source. If, on the other hand, you’re writing a longer research paper and using 10 or more sources, it’s not that easy.
Imagine you’re on page 5 of your research essay, and you remember reading the perfect quote about binge drinking in…um…well, you read it in one of your sources, somewhere.
Unless you have some magic fairy dust to help remember everything you’ve read, you’ll likely spend 25 minutes looking for that perfect quote.
Trust me, writing an annotated bibliography may seem like a major pain now, but once you see how much time it will save you, and once you see a good grade on your paper, you’ll be happy you wrote it.
Before You Begin Writing
Do your research!
You can’t exactly write an annotated bibliography without sources, so start researching!
If you’re not sure where to find sources read 5 Best Resources to Help with Writing a Research Paper.
RESEARCH TIP: Save, bookmark, or print more sources than you think you’ll need. Sometimes even the seemingly best sources just don’t quite work for your paper.
Read and take notes.
You don’t have to spend hours taking notes on every little detail, but you should mark the following, as you’ll need them to write your annotations:
- The main ideas of the source
- Questions or comments about the argument’s or author’s credibility
- Key points or quotes that you might include in your paper
- Whether or not the source will be useful in your research paper
Now that you’ve found your sources and taken notes, we can get down to the business of writing.
Remember, there will be no waiving of fairy godmother wands to magically produce a completed annotated bibliography. You will need to write your own.
So let’s get started.
How to Write an Annotated Bibliography that Works
Not all annotated bibliographies are written in the same way. Some include primarily summary and informative annotations. Others include a critique of sources. Most annotated bibliographies contain some combination of elements and can vary in word count.
Don’t assume you know which type you should be writing. Ask your professor about the exact requirements for your assignment.
Follow these 3 steps to learn about the basics of how to write an annotated bibliography.
Step 1: Cite your source in proper APA, MLA, or other required citation style
Each of your entries will begin with a full bibliographic entry.
This entry looks just like the entry you’d include on a regular Works Cited or Reference page. Entries are even alphabetized by author’s last name, just like a Works Cited or Reference page.
Here’s an example I created to show you what the citation will look like.
Robertson, A. (2012). Why fairy tales are important. Psychology Today. (13)2, 210-222.
MLA format – 7th edition
Roberston, Ann. “Why Fairy Tales are Important.” Psychology Today. 13.2 (2012): 210-222. Print.
MLA format – 8th edition
Roberston, Ann. “Why Fairy Tales Are Important.” Psychology Today, vol. 13, no. 2, 2012, pp. 210-222.
Need some help with APA or MLA? Read How to Write APA Citations in 4 Easy Steps and How to Write MLA Citations Without Going Crazy.
Step 2: Summarize the source
A summary explains the main ideas of the source.
Someone else should be able to read your summary and know exactly what the source is about.
This isn’t the time to tell readers whether or not you like the source. Be objective. Just state what the source is about. No more, no less.
Here’s an example of what a summary of an article might look like.
Robertson’s article argues that fairy tales are important because they teach children moral tales of right and wrong and provide children an outlet for their emotions. Fairy tales also allow children to develop their imagination and critical thinking as they journey with characters to magical lands.
Step 3: Evaluate the source
Here’s your chance to write a brief paragraph or two to tell readers what you think of the source and how it fits into your own research. I’ve color coded the questions you should ask, so that you can clearly see what’s going on in my example below.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the author credible?
- What did I like or not like about the source?
- Are the arguments effective?
- Does the author support her arguments?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses?
- How might I incorporate this source into my paper?
Answering these types of questions will help you formulate an effective critique and evaluation of each source.
Here’s an example of what your evaluation might look like.
Dr. Robertson is a well-known children’s psychologist who also has elementary education experience. Her articles are published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, and her work is considered credible.
The article will be an excellent source for my paper because it includes recent studies about children’s appreciation for fairy talesandfeatures a detailed discussion of why fairy tales are beneficial to children. Robertson even includes interviews with children that I may be able to use in my introduction.
That wasn’t as bad as you thought, was it? Just three quick steps and you have an annotated bibliography!
If you need a quick way to remember the steps in writing an annotated bibliography, just remember CSE: Cite, Summarize, Evaluate.
Putting It All Together
Writing your annotated bibliography in small steps can make a large task seem far less intimidating.
Now that you know how to write each part of an annotated bibliography, the final step is to put it all together and make sure it’s in proper format.
Follow these links to see a completed annotated bibliography.
Here’s a sample APA annotated bibliography and a sample MLA annotated bibliography.
They Lived Happily Ever After
At the end of the day, the student learned how to write an annotated bibliography.
She knew she needed to write an appropriate MLA or APA citation followed by a summary and evaluation of the source.
The student worked diligently to write an annotated bibliography then had a Kibin editor review her work.
Both the fairy godmother and the student were delighted when the student received her final grade.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Useful Resources to Help Write an Annotated Bibliography
Writing an Annotated Bibliography: This source includes a list of verbs to help you write about and summarize sources.
Annotated Bibliography: Tips for Writing: This source includes an overview of how to write an annotated bibliography and a template to help you write annotations.
Finally, this short video provides a basic overview of an annotated bibliography.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
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.