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If you've been assigned to compose an annotated bibliography, let's first start by saying this: an annotated bibliography cannot be composed without doing research. If you would like support in your research process, consider meeting with one of Grand Valley's Peer Research Consultants at the Knowledge Market! According to their website, "research consultants are highly-trained students ready to help you improve your library research skills."
Bibliography: is a collection/list of sources used to explore or research a specific topic/idea. Bibliographies have different names sometimes: Work Cited, Reference List, References, etc. The information included in a bibliography covers authorship, publication, and access.
Annotation: is summary or evaluation of a text.
An annotated bibliography, therefore, is a type of assignment/project that asks the researcher/author to provide descriptions, summaries, and reflections on expert texts. But depending on your assignment guidelines or professor preference, annotated bibliographies can accomplish a couple of different goals:
Here are some things to keep in mind about composing and revising an annotated bibliography:
1. This is not the place for direct quotes: the goal of an annotated bibliography is to represent expert text in a refined, synthesized way. There just isn't enough time or space to include direct quotes. If you're having a hard time rephrasing and summarizing the words of your source, consider asking a consultant for help -- they can talk you through knowing how to internalized new information and write about it in summary form.
2. This is a great way to get to know a topic: creating an annotated bibliography on your topic is a great way to assess the information out there, find gaps in the research, or educate yourself on stuff you care about.
3. This should feel like you're mediating a conversation: sources within an annotated bibliography should be related to each other, in conflict with each other, supportive of each other, or inspiring & foundational to each other. When synthesizing the information or analyzing the content, it should feel like you're aware of the relationships among them (i.e. "This source is a direct evolution of so-and-so, who had limited means to accomplish these goals.").
4. This might take longer than you think: even though an annotation is brief, it is refined. Having a fair, full representation and analysis of a lengthy text WHILE keeping it brief is an incredible skill that doesn't happen the first time you try this. You should anticipate a heavy revision stage -- which is a great time to come to the Writing Center and meet with a consultant!
The information on this page was brought to you, in part, by Purdue OWL's Annotated Bibliography resource.
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