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Writing an Annotated Bibliography: The Basics
What is an annotated bibliography?
It's an organized list of cited references that includes both a brief summary and an evaluation of each source. The length requires that you use pithy description and succinct analysis.
Why an annotated bibliography?
- As a literature review on a particular topic
- Demonstrating to the reader if a source should be considered for her/his research
- To illustrate the quality of your research
- Providing examples of the types of sources available
- Giving your research historical perspective or relevance
- Exploring the parameters of the subject
- Preparing for future research
What might you address in an annotated bibliography?
- Audience – Who is the author addressing? Who should be reading this?
- Authority – What are the writer’s credentials? Why should we believe what he has to say? Is the author really an authority?
- Bias – Do the authors / publishers have a particular agenda they are trying to promote?
- Content – Is what’s included appropriate? Is it worth reading?
- Coverage – Is the topic explored thoroughly? Does the scope of the material match the author’s intentions? Is there a better work on this topic?
- Currency – Is this up-to-date? Is timeliness important for this particular topic?
- Organization – Does the arrangement of the content augment the argument?
- Purpose – What does the author intend to convey? Does the author achieve this?
- Relevance – Does this contribute significantly to research in this field?
- Quality – Is this an exemplary demonstration of scholarship?
- Special Features – Does this work include any attributes that benefit the reader and make it particularly useful? (illustrations, index, footnotes, recommended readings)
- Writing Style – How does the manner in which the material is presented contribute to the overall purpose?