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bibliography is a list of citations to books, journal articles, and other works.

An annotated bibliographyis a list of citations to books, journal articles, and other works accompanied by descriptive and/or critical paragraph length summaries.

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?

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.

Creating Bibliographies

Bibliographies are usually created using a certain style or format. Typical formats are APA, MLA, or Chicago Manual of Style. For more information about citing sources, see the following guides:

Annotated Bibliography

The following abstract is written in APA style:

Mallett, C., & Hanrahan, S. (2004). Elite athletes: Why does the 'fire' burn so brightly? Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5(2), 183-200.

Mallett and Hanrahan attempted to use Self Determination Theory (STD), which identifies the social and contextual conditions that create a motivational climate, to discover what motivates elite athletes to perform at such a high level. Athletes usually experience either intrinsic or extrinsic motivational factors to inspire them to demonstrate their competence at an elite level. The authors conducted qualitative interviews with 11 track and field athletes (who had received medals in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games) to gather data on motivational forces. Data from these interviews indicated that all of the elite athletes were mainly intrinsically motivated. They were highly driven by personal goals; had strong self belief; and, their sport was central to their lives. From the findings of this study, Mallett and Hanrahan concluded that when elite athletes accomplished their goals, it enhanced their perception of their competence, which positively influenced self determined motivation. Although the study supported earlier research in the area, the authors acknowledged that further studies on motivational influences are necessary to provide more substantial documentation. 

(*Written by Caroline Thompson, Librarian, UWF Libraries)

The following abstract is written in MLA style:

Davis, Lloyd S., and Martin Renner. Penguins. Yale University Press, 2003.

This book is concerned with the fascinating family of penguins. Davis (Univ. of Otago, New Zealand) and Renner (independent scholar) deal with the historical approach to penguins and their relationship to other birds and also to each other. The authors consider the different species of penguins and how they forage and live in a harsh world. Then they deal with mate selection and courtship, breeding places, parental care, and egg and chick mortality. Finally they discuss molt and migration and the major problem of conservation in a changing world. Throughout this work there are figures, tables, and some nice color plates. The book includes a substantial list of references. Recommended. General readers; lower-level undergraduates and above. 

(*Written for CHOICE by C. J. Pollard, emeritus, Los Angeles Unified School District , Sept. 2004.)

The following abstract is written in the Chicago: Notes-Bibliography (or Turabian) style:

Johnston, Erle E., Jr. Mississippi’s Defiant Years, 1953-1973: An Interpretive Documentary With Personal Experiences. Forest, MS: Lake Harbor Publishers: 1990.  

Mississippi’s Defiant Years, written for a general audience, is Erle Johnston’s personal and highly subjective account of the state’s struggle to retain the tradition of segregation. Johnston, who served as the Director of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission in the 1960s, made the claim in the early 1990s that he turned the Commission into a trouble-shooting liaison between the white power structure and those involved in civil rights activities. While there are numerous sources that contradict his claim (see Paul Hendrickson’s “Unsealing Mississippi’s Past,” The Washington Post Magazine 9 [May 1990]: 8-25), this book serves as a significant source for studying the change in Johnston’s thoughts and attitudes about his role in the defiant years. Unlike the multitude of sources written from a pro-movement perspective, this work provides an interesting account from the opposing viewpoint - that of white resistance.

(*Written by Melissa Gonzalez, Librarian, UWF Libraries)