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The Writing Center

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

Often teachers who require research papers also require an annotated bibliography before the first draft of the paper is even written. An annotated bibliography is made up of two major components: the citation of the source and the summary of (and sometimes commentary on) the source. To create an annotated bibliography, you must first collect all of your sources, then read, summarize, and evaluate each source for future usefulness.

An annotated bibliography may serve several purposes. First, it will enable you to learn about your topic. Because you will need to summarize each source, you will have to read all resource material carefully. Secondly, it will enable you to construct a stronger thesis. The annotation process will allow you to understand the perspectives of each source, comprehend the varying issues, and then develop your own position or thesis. Finally, an annotated bibliography can provide a guide or overview for future research.

Follow MLA or APA-author, title, publisher, date etc. For more help with specific citations, check The Little, Brown Compact Handbook, the Writing Center, or your instructor.

Begin by describing the source-author's credentials, purpose, and audience. Next in a sentence or two, give a brief overview of the content of the source. Conclude with the value of the source to your project. This could be a statement of timeliness, validity, or how extensive the information may be.

Organize your sources as you would for a Works Cited page or a Reference page, alphabetically by the last name of the author.

A sample annotation for an argumentative paper:

A sample annotation for an argumentative paper

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