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Introduction to Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of items, articles, and books on a particular topic. These lists often appear at the end of articles in scholarly journals or books as an aid to further research. Bibliographies often contain annotations, or descriptive notes, and the citations must adhere to the strict format found in a style manual (like MLA or APA).

The citation is the formal way to describe the item and gives the author, the title, and other specifics of the item.

An annotation is a brief description of an item, book, or journal article, appearing after the citation in a bibliography.  An annotation includes a short summary of the content, an evaluation of the source, and a summary of the conclusions of the researcher.  

There are two portions: the citation and the annotation. You might think of these as the address of the item and the description of the item. Notice, in the description, there is room for comments on the usefulness of the item for a researcher.

Answer these questions when you do your assessment: Currency, Relevance. Reliability. Authority. Audience. Purpose. Point of View.

Example (MLA)

Bakirci, Kadriye. "Voting Rights." Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World, edited by Mary Zeiss Stange, et al., vol. 4, SAGE Reference, 2011, 1529-1532. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=nclivebrec&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX1959900907&asid=782d5694acfa5d815c8ea07137df36cb. Accessed 11 Nov. 2016.

This encyclopedia article provided an overview of women’s suffrage, pointing out some of the issues surrounding the movement. The basis of the movement reflects a country’s state of human rights. “This is a major indicator of the state of human rights in those nations (Bakirci).” The article concludes with a section on international women’s suffrage and difficulties voting.

This article from the source Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World is taken from a well-renowned reference source, Gale Virtual Reference; as such, it is reliable. Published in 2011, the source is not quite cutting edge; however, since history is a subject that doesn’t go through constant updates, the fact that it is over a decade old is not of huge concern. The information provided in the article about suffrage was fairly brief and didn’t provide comprehensive coverage of the suffrage movement in terms of history. Also, the impact of the suffrage movement for future generations was not discussed.

This source is used as a beginning reference to orient the reader to the basics of the women's suffrage movement.  The references at the end of the article provided some excellent places for further research. In beginning a research paper about such a large and controversial topic, a reliable foundation can be used for this purpose, such as is provided in the Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World.

Annotated Bibliographies University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign