According to Purdue OWL, an annotated bibliography “includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources” with each annotation summarizing, assessing, and reflecting on a source. Each annotation includes the complete citation for the source, a description of the main idea of thesis of the source, information about the author or audience, why the source is important, and an analysis of the importance, limitations, strengths and weaknesses, and/or gaps.
WHAT IS IN AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY?
A bibliography is a list of resources (books, articles, dissertations, etc.), and the annotation is a paragraph of description that summarizes, assesses, and reflects on its source. Knowing this, an annotated bibliography is a list of sources that each have a paragraph of information that summarizes and analyses the resource. An annotation is not an abstract.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY?
- To learn about your topic.
- To provide an updated list of sources on your topic.
- To prepare for literature reviews and other future research.
- To keep track of sources and how you plan to use them.
5 STEPS FOR COMPLETING YOUR ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Step 1: Brainstorming & Choosing a Topic
- Brainstorming is the process by which ideas are produced using techniques like concept mapping, free-writing, etc.
- Choosing a Topic: Make a list of concepts you’ve learned about in class or interesting topics. Do a preliminary search to see what exists on your topic, get ideas, and narrow down your topic.
Step 2: Finding Sources
- Make a list of keywords or phrases to use as search terms based on your topic.
- Search for sources by using Google Scholar, the GVSU databases (Find It! Bar above), or the Library Catalog. Want more information? Watch this video!
Step 3: Reading Sources & Taking Notes
- Reading Sources: Skim and scan sources resulting from your searches by reading titles, abstracts, methodologies, and review references.
- Taking Notes: Read and keep notes on each source, including the name of sources and citations. Keep notes on an index card, notebook, or electronic device.
Step 4: Identify Key Aspects
- Once you’ve collected, read, noted, and saved your citations and resources, you should begin to see patterns.
- Ask yourself: Why did I choose this source? Who is the author, and what is their authority in the field? What is important about this source? What makes this source different than others? How will this be helpful in the future? How will I use this in the future? Strengths or weaknesses? Do gaps arise from this source?
Step 5: Begin writing!
- Start by compiling your bibliography using your notes and citations.
- Use your notes and highlighted material to write annotations for each source.
NOTE: This guide provides general guidelines to follow when writing an annotated bibliography, however there are differences between discipline and class/professor requirement.
This information is adapted from the GVSU Library Subject Guides.
MEET WITH A CONSULTANT
Have other questions? Research consultants can help! We specialize in brainstorming topics, finding sources, reading scholarly materials, and evaluating research.
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