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Annotated Bibliographies

Introduction to Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of useful resources on a specific topic, similar to a bibliography at the end of a paper; however, each source listed must also include an annotation (brief commentary) of about 150 words. Depending on the field of study, an annotated bibliography may contain annotations that are descriptive (tell about a source), critical (give an opinion about a source), or both.

Annotations might include:

  • a brief summary of the source
  • a description of its strengths, weaknesses and usefulness to you
  • a description of how it compares with other research in the field
  • information about the author's background

An annotated bibliography should help to answer the following question:

"What are the most relevant and useful sources I can find for my chosen topic?"

In addition, when creating an annotated bibliography as a class assignment, it can:

  • help you to engage and become familiar with other written work on a particular topic
  • form the basis of a research bibliography for a large project
  • help you to keep track of what you have read, which sources you found useful, and why
  • help you formulate a thesis on a topic
  • show that you have have done your research and used critical thinking skills