This guide answers some common questions about annotated bibliographies and provides both general guidelines on what to include in an annotation, as well as examples. You should always refer to your specific assignment, or ask your professor for guidance on the overall length, organization, and any other requirements.
A relatively short list of articles, books and other works on a topic. This list includes both citation information and a paragraph (the annotation) describing and evaluating the source. Annotations are typically 100 to 200 words in length, depending on the intended purpose of the bibliography. The bibliography itself may be in alphabetical order (as in a regular bibliography or list of works cited) or may organize items into categories such as subject, type of resource (i.e. books, articles), or time period.
They are created for several reasons. Some researchers create them to help keep track of sources of interest and collect their thoughts about the item, often as a precursor to writing an article or book. Annotated bibliographies are often shared or published as a way of gathering the most relevant sources about an issue in one place and sharing the information with others. Readers use the annotations to help them decide whether or not a source is worth pursuing.
An abstract is provided for you with an article and is intended to provide readers with a short summary of the purpose of an article. Abstracts are often written by the author.
Annotations not only summarize the main points of a work but also evaluate it and indicate how that work fits into the scholarly conversation on a topic. Annotations are never written by the author and should be unbiased.
Keep in mind that annotations are supposed to highlight the most important points of a resource. If you’re struggling to keep your annotations short, make sure you’re not getting too specific - if people reading your bibliography want to know more, they can find the work and read it directly. Also, always remember that annotations should be as unbiased as possible – keep your personal opinions out!
Although they are short, annotations should be extremely informative and include most, if not all, of the following categories:
In addition to these 5 main points, annotations may also include the following components, as needed:
Please see the Purdue Owl for example annotations