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Designed for sociology students, this guide takes you through the Library’s resources to improve your research.
Annotated Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of sources that have been used when researching a topic. They are also called "Works Cited" or "References" depending on the style format used.

An annotation is a summary and/or an evaluation.

Therefore, an annotated bibliography is when you write a summary and/or evaluation for each source in your bibliography. This means your bibliography page with include 1) your sources with complete citation in alphabetical order and 2) a summary and/or evaluation and/or reflection along with each source.

Your annotations can include up to three items, depending on the requirements of the assignment:

  1. Summary - you will summarize the main points of the source, paraphrasing the point of the source as well as the topics covered.
  2. Evaluation - you will evaluate the source on its usefulness and compare/contrast it with others sources in your bibliography. You will discuss its reliability and credibility as a source, and whether it is bias or objective. You also might discuss the goal of the source.
  3. Reflection - you will reflect on the overall usefulness of the source for your research. Was the source helpful to you? How can the source be used in your research paper or project? Did the source cause you to think differently about the topic?

Remember, an annotated bibliography may include all or some of these parts, so get specific instructions from your professor.

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography?

To learn more about your topic - Engaging in the creation of an annotated bibliography offers valuable benefits for researchers at all levels. Beyond mere information gathering or quote selection, it encourages deeper engagement with each source, promoting critical reading and analysis. This process fosters the development of critical thinking skills and a robust understanding of the chosen topic, ultimately leading to the formulation of a well-defined, debatable, and interesting thesis statement - a cornerstone of any successful research project.

To help other researchers: Furthermore, annotated bibliographies can extend their impact beyond the individual researcher. When published, they serve as valuable resources for other researchers in the field, providing a comprehensive overview of the chosen topic, facilitating further exploration and understanding.

(Content on this page was borrowed heavily from the Purdue OWL.)