Essay annotated bibliography example
Once upon a time there was a hard-working student who paid close attention to lectures, studied hard, and learned how to cite properly in both MLA and APA format.
The sun shone brightly.
Then one day a dark cloud overshadowed the world.
A professor asked the student to write an annotated bibliography.
The annotation usually contains a brief summary of content and a short analysis or evaluation. Depending on your assignment you may be asked to reflect, summarise, critique, evaluate or analyse the source.
The student grew pale.
She thought she had mastered all things related to citation. She didn’t want to learn how to write anything so terrible sounding as an annotated bibliography.
She closed her eyes tightly and wished her fairy godmother would magically write the annotated bibliography for her.
POOF! Her fairy godmother appeared!
“I will grant your wish….well, sorta,” said the fairy godmother. “I will not write the annotated bibliography for you, but I will teach you how to write one, thus enabling you to use the skill in your future courses.”
She wrote this blog post to teach all students how to write an annotated bibliography that works.
Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic. In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises
designed to be both productive and fun.
Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises
would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.
What Is an Annotated Bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is simply a bibliography with annotations. Okay, that doesn’t help much, does it?
Really, though, that’s all it is. You know how to write a Works Cited or Reference page, right? If you’ve mastered this, the next step is to simply add the annotations.
Like Simmons (1993), Thaman critically examines the crucial problems of ecotourism in developing countries, rather than accepting it as unproblematic. Similar to Scheyvens (1999), Thaman emphasises the importance of local people's full participation, and social and political empowerment, but in different ways. Also like Scheyvens, Thaman believes that it is possible to promote both development and conservation. Thaman's proposal of "ecocultural tourism development" is fairly perceptive, constructive, and more radical than Scheyven's community-based approach. Although Thaman provides incisive views on ecotourism, it is difficult to change people's perceptions radically, and it is unrealistic for foreign donors to relinquish certain rights and provide aid unconditionally. Moreover, Thaman fails to find any solutions derived from the local community's own perspective - what these people can do for their own sake, instead of depending on others.
Annotations include a summary of the work, a critique of the author or credibility of the source, and a discussion of whether or not the source will be useful to your research.
Why Write an Annotated Bibliography?
I’m sure you’re saying, “Give me one good reason why I should write an annotated bibliography.
Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.
” I’ll do better than that. I’ll give you three!
1. It’s a course assignment. If you want to do well in the course, you need to do it. Enough said.
2. An annotated bibliography helps you become a better researcher.
In order to write an annotated bibliography, you need to be able to summarize the source.
As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.
This means you’ll need to take the time to read it carefully. You can’t just find a source and add it to the list without reading it.
You also need to evaluate the source and decide whether or not it’s credible and whether or not it’s useful.
The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.
Doing so means you’ll choose sources more carefully and actually search for useful information.
No more picking the first few websites that show up on a Google search and trying to make them fit.
3. An annotated bibliography saves you time.
This is an example of an annotation with its appropriately referenced source, using APA referencing. This example is from Jingjing Jiang's annotated bibliography written for a Massey University assignment in 2006.
If you’re writing a research paper with three sources, it’s pretty easy to remember what you read in each source. If, on the other hand, you’re writing a longer research paper and using 10 or more sources, it’s not that easy.
Including information that is research based, and published by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, this resource is highly reliable and gives a useful context for the information within this research paper.
Imagine you’re on page 5 of your research essay, and you remember reading the perfect quote about binge drinking in…um…well, you read it in one of your sources, somewhere.
Unless you have some magic fairy dust to help remember everything you’ve read, you’ll likely spend 25 minutes looking for that perfect quote.
StyleJohnson, Jaime. "Gun Control: Your Only Means of Defense.” Researcher's Special Journal (1999): 254-325. Print. The author researches several federal and state firearms regulations and their effect on the everyday citizen. By testing his hypothesis that firearms regulations have an inherent effect on everyday citizens, findings yield in support of the hypothesis. In contrast, Baker cited in an earlier study the complete opposite
Trust me, writing an annotated bibliography may seem like a major pain now, but once you see how much time it will save you, and once you see a good grade on your paper, you’ll be happy you wrote it.
Before You Begin Writing
Do your research!
You can’t exactly write an annotated bibliography without sources, so start researching!
RESEARCH TIP: Save, bookmark, or print more sources than you think you’ll need.
MediLexicon International, the publisher of the article, is a U.K. based health care internet publishing company that is dedicated to providing top notch unbiased content. Publishing since 2003, this reputable company’s articles are reliable for use for research support.
Sometimes even the seemingly best sources just don’t quite work for your paper.
Read and take notes.
You don’t have to spend hours taking notes on every little detail, but you should mark the following, as you’ll need them to write your annotations:
- The main ideas of the source
- Questions or comments about the argument’s or author’s credibility
- Key points or quotes that you might include in your paper
- Whether or not the source will be useful in your research paper
Now that you’ve found your sources and taken notes, we can get down to the business of writing.
Remember, there will be no waiving of fairy godmother wands to magically produce a completed annotated bibliography.
An annotated bibliography provides a brief account of the available research on a given topic. It is a list of research sources that includes concise descriptions and evaluations of each source.
You will need to write your own.
So let’s get started.
How to Write an Annotated Bibliography that Works
Not all annotated bibliographies are written in the same way.
In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.
Some include primarily summary and informative annotations. Others include a critique of sources. Most annotated bibliographies contain some combination of elements and can vary in word count.
Don’t assume you know which type you should be writing.
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.
Ask your professor about the exact requirements for your assignment.
Follow these 3 steps to learn about the basics of how to write an annotated bibliography.
Step 1: Cite your source in proper APA, MLA, or other required citation style
Each of your entries will begin with a full bibliographic entry.
Scientific and evidence based, this journal article from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundations of America’s journal is a highly useful resource to support the topic of this paper.
This entry looks just like the entry you’d include on a regular Works Cited or Reference page. Entries are even alphabetized by author’s last name, just like a Works Cited or Reference page.
Here’s an example I created to show you what the citation will look like.
Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.
Robertson, A. (2012). Why fairy tales are important. Psychology Today. (13)2, 210-222.
MLA format - 7th edition
Roberston, Ann. “Why Fairy Tales are Important.” Psychology Today. 13.2 (2012): 210-222. Print.
MLA format - 8th edition
Roberston, Ann. “Why Fairy Tales Are Important.” Psychology Today, vol. 13, no. 2, 2012, pp. 210-222.
Someone else should be able to read your summary and know exactly what the source is about.
A comprehensive scholarly article about the links between Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, this piece offers scientific information about how Vitamin D works within the body, and information from a wide variety of doctors and researchers that supports a link between the vitamin and IBD disorders.
This isn’t the time to tell readers whether or not you like the source. Be objective. Just state what the source is about. No more, no less.
Here’s an example of what a summary of an article might look like.
Thaman argues that there is an inherent contradiction between cultural conservation and ecotourism business: the latter always leads to the erosion of the former. Thaman addresses the importance of indigenous culture, and recognises the gradually increasing phenomenon of cultural alienation. She rejects applying the Western model of ecotourism in the Pacific, and incisively maintains that ecotourism has become a new sell in Pacific Islands, promoted by profits. Consequently, she advocates "ecocultural tourism development" as an alternative form of development. Further, Thaman touches on the issue of gender, and emphasises the role of education in improving people's consciousness.
Robertson’s article argues that fairy tales are important because they teach children moral tales of right and wrong and provide children an outlet for their emotions. Fairy tales also allow children to develop their imagination and critical thinking as they journey with characters to magical lands.
This insightful account of one woman’s struggles with her symptoms and diagnosis of Crohn’s provides valuable personal information for those struggling with Crohn’s.
Step 3: Evaluate the source
Here’s your chance to write a brief paragraph or two to tell readers what you think of the source and how it fits into your own research. I’ve color coded the questions you should ask, so that you can clearly see what’s going on in my example below.
Published by Boulder Publications, a self-proclaimed “publisher of high quality books,” this book is a useful tool to understand Crohn’s disease. It is a reliable resource for anecdotal information about Crohn’s disease.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the author credible?
- What did I like or not like about the source?
- Are the arguments effective?
- Does the author support her arguments?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses?
- How might I incorporate this source into my paper?
Answering these types of questions will help you formulate an effective critique and evaluation of each source.
Here’s an example of what your evaluation might look like.
Published on the website Medical News Today, this article discusses the research findings of two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vedoluzimab is a drug being tested to help Crohn’s and Colitis patients deal with the debilitating effects of these diseases. The article briefly outlines the research suggesting effectiveness of the drug.
Dr. Robertson is a well-known children’s psychologist who also has elementary education experience. Her articles are published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, and her work is considered credible.
Please note: the advice in this guide is general. We strongly recommend that you also follow your assignment instructions and seek clarification from your lecturer/tutor if needed.
The article will be an excellent source for my paper because it includes recent studies about children’s appreciation for fairy tales and features a detailed discussion of why fairy tales are beneficial to children.
The basic format of an annotated bibliography is the same as a non-annotated bibliography entry. The difference is that the publication information about the source material is followed with the annotation that reviews and evaluates the material.
Robertson even includes interviews with children that I may be able to use in my introduction.
That wasn’t as bad as you thought, was it? Just three quick steps and you have an annotated bibliography!
If you need a quick way to remember the steps in writing an annotated bibliography, just remember CSE: Cite, Summarize, Evaluate.
For a sample of an entry from an annotated bibliography entry in PDF, click on the downloadable file in the media box above.