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EVR 2001: Introduction to Environmental Science

Foundation of Annotated Bibliography

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The building blocks and structure of an annotated bibliography is: Bibliographic detail (citation), brief overview of content, critical analysis of text (the bulk of your annotation), and the statement of relevance or usefulness of the article to your project.

Steps for Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an annotated bibliography can be tedious, but it doesn't have to be painful!  As you begin your assignment, use these guidelines to help make the process easier.

Begin by formatting your citation. Pick a format and cite the source. Ask a librarian if you need help!

Next, begin the annotation part by briefly explaining what the resources is about. For example, what is the article about? Keep it to 2-4 sentences.

Now is the tricky part. You need to assess and reflect upon the resource. This will be the longest part of your annotation. Focus on answering these questions in your writeup:

  • What information does this source contribute to your research question? 
  • How does the source relate to other sources in your bibliography?
  • Does the source appear to be biased? If so, how is it biased?
  • If it's an article, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the article?
  • How does the source fit into your research paper? Is it useful? Why is it useful?

Examples of Annotated Bibliographies

Example 1:
Fullard, D. (2005). Biodiversity Education at a Natural World Heritage Site: Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Roots 2(1): 3.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, in Cape Town, is the first botanical garden to be recognized as a natural World Heritage Site. The Kirstenbosch Environmental Education Program supports the World Heritage Convention’s mission to encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage. The program’s stated mission is to inspire and enable people from all walks of life to take responsibility for their environment. Learners/youth from the disadvantaged areas and under-resourced schools of the Cape Flats in the Western Cape participate in a curriculum-linked, gardenbased and outreach greening program which cover a wide variety of themes, learning program and activities. The article does not describe and specific outcomes or how program successes were measured and evaluated. 

Example 2:

Kletou, D., Hall-Spencer, J. M., & Kleitou, P. (2016). A lionfish (Pterois miles) invasion has begun in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity Records 9(46)1-7. doi:10.1186/s41200-016-0065-y

This article discusses the recent invasion of the lionfish in the Mediterranean Sea and offers reasons for the sudden increase in the species' presence.  The study concludes that growth of the lionfish population can be controlled by encouraging commercial fishermen and divers to capture the lionfish to be sold on the market. While the article provides data and graphs that forecast the decline of the lionfish with a commercial fishing intervention, the methodology is incomplete. The researchers do not fully explain how they obtained these results.  The article does not address external factors that may derail the fishing plan proposed by the authors; for example, the researchers do not consider the population growth rate of the lionfish or how aggressive the fishing rate needs to be to control the population in a timely manner. Although the introduction is helpful in providing a framework for why the lionfish invasion is a concerning issue, the discussion lacks depth in addressing other issues that may arise.