Annotated bibliography refers to an alphabetical list of research sources (books, articles, and documents) each followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. In other words, an annotated bibliography is a summary of the research done on a topic and shows in-depth understanding and evaluation of the sources to be used. It serves to highlight the relevance, usefulness and quality of the chosen sources.
Each source should have the complete bibliographic reference, a citation (information for the source according to a particular citation style), and a one-to-two-paragraph (100-150-words long) annotation that reflects, summarizes, critiques, evaluates and/or analyses it. It can include some or all of the following:
- the author’s authority and qualifications;
- main purpose of the work;
- scope of the research made;
- detectable biases, validity and reliability of the research;
- intended audience;
- personal comments/evaluation.
Usually, an annotated bibliography includes a mix of scholarly and quality trade journals or magazines / newspapers.
A successful annotation is always concise. It displays the source’s central idea(s) and gives the reader a general idea of what the source is about. In contrast to an abstract, each source’s annotation should be critical and not just a purely descriptive summary. An annotation always includes both description and an evaluation.
How to Describe A Source
Here are the tips and kinds of questions which the writer of the annotated bibliography should be asking. The description of a source might include:
- The motivation for the text (research question, situation, or problem)
- Its thesis, research question, or hypothesis
- The main idea/argument
- Its major methods of investigation
- Main results/outcomes
The evaluation might include answers to the following questions:
- Does it seem like a reliable and current source? Why?
- Is the research biased or objective?
- Are the facts well documented?
- Who is the author? Is she qualified in this subject?
- Is this source scholarly, popular, some of both?
- How does it fit with my research?
- Is this a helpful resource? Too scholarly? Not scholarly enough? Too general/specific?
- The citation for the source goes first, followed by the annotation.
- Do not repeat information that is in the citation (title, journal, publication information, and full names of authors.
- Summarize main ideas and conclusions in your own words and sentence structure. The annotation shows your familiarity with that source.
- Do not use direct quotations and do not use the language of the abstract.
- Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence to present the overall idea and then provide detail to develop the topic sentence.
Examples of Annotated Bibliography
Below are two examples of an annotated bibliography for just one source (APA style). Usually, an annotated bibliography includes 8-15 sources.
Archibold, R. (2006). “Problem of Homelessness in Los Angeles and Its Environs Draws Renewed Calls for Attention.” The New York Times, January 15.
In this article, Archibold (2006) discusses homelessness from the political viewpoint and aims to answer why Los Angeles is the capital of homelessness in America. Taking results of different reports and quoting homeless advocates, the journalist provides interesting statistics about homelessness in the city and the measures taken as well as discredits the popular myth that homeless people come to Los Angeles from other places. The article recalls attention to the forgotten problem.
Comparing and analyzing the information provided, Archibold (2006) emphasizes discrepancies in campaign promises, official homelessness reports, and commonly spread opinion and explains their political meaning. An experienced journalist, he points out what was done and what can be done more to prevent a homeless increase in the region. However, it is felt that the author respects the local government, which cannot and does not attempt to skirt the homeless problem in Los Angeles.
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist’s experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.
An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.
Source: AEssay Team
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