Writing an Annotated Bibliography
APA/MLA Annotated Bibliography
Writing an Annotated Bibliography
In an annotated bibliography, there are two main parts: the bibliography and the annotations.
For the bibliography, you will first need to determine what citation style is most appropriate to cite the bibliographic information for your sources.
There are also several different types of annotations to choose from when writing your annotated bibliography. Here are some basic types of annotation styles:
There are two kinds of summarizing annotations, informative and indicative.
Summarizing annotations in general have a couple of defining features:
Informative annotations sometimes read like straight summaries of the source material, but they often spend a little more time summarizing relevant information about the author or the work itself.
Indicative annotation is the second type of summary annotation, but it does not attempt to include actual information from the argument itself. Instead, it gives general information about what kinds of questions or issues are addressed by the work. This sometimes includes the use of chapter titles.
Evaluative annotations don’t just summarize. In addition to tackling the points addressed in summary annotations, evaluative annotations:
An annotated bibliography may combine elements of all the types. In fact, most of them fall into this category: a little summarizing and describing, a little evaluation.
Steps to Writing the Annotation
The RADAR Framework can help you remember what kinds of questions you should be asking about an information source as you evaluate it for quality and usefulness in your research.
Step 1: Cite the source properly.
Step 2. Use RADAR: Relevance to explain how this source is related to your topic. Does it answer your research question? What does it add to your research so far?
Step 3. Use RADAR: Rationale to explain who the audience is for this source. What sort of language is used to talk about the topic?
Step 4. Use RADAR: Authority to talk about the author's credentials, affiliation, and relationship to the discipline or topic discussed in the source.
Step 5. Use RADAR: Accuracy to state whether other experts of scholars support this source's claims or not. Is there a shared expert opinion on this source?
Step 6. Use RADAR: Rationale to state whether the source presents obvious bias. Are they implying something not backed by evidence? Do they make statements not clearly linked to the evidence or data presented?
Evaluative Annotated Bibliography Tutorial
A scholarly paper can be difficult to read. Instead of reading straight through, try focusing on the different sections and asking specific questions at each point.
What is your research question?
When you select an article to read for a project or class, focus on your topic. Look for information in the article that is relevant to your research question.
Read the abstract first as it covers basics of the article. Questions to consider:
Second: Read the introduction and discussion/conclusion. These sections offer the main argument and hypothesis of the article. Questions to consider for the introduction:
Questions for the discussion and conclusion:
Next: Read about the Methods/Methodology. If what you've read addresses your research question, this should be your next section. Questions to consider:
Finally: Read the Results and Analysis. Now read the details of this research. What did the researchers learn? If graphs and statistics are confusing, focus on the explanations around them. Questions to consider:
Review the References (anytime): These give credit to other scientists and researchers and show you the basis the authors used to develop their research. The list of references, or works cited, should include all of the materials the authors used in the article. The references list can be a good way to identify additional sources of information on the topic. Questions to ask:
From USC Libraries Evaluating Information Sources: Reading Scholarly Articles Guide
Helpful Links for Annotated Bibliographies
Elements in an Annotated Bibliography
Annotations vs. Abstracts
Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.
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