Annotated Bibliography Example
This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
Contributors: Geoff Stacks, Erin Karper, Dana Bisignani, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-09 12:16:53
Stem Cell Research: An Annotated Bibliography
Holland, Suzanne. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Boston: MIT P, 2001.
This is the annotation of the above source, which is formatted according to MLA 2016 (8th ed.) guidelines for the bibliographic information listed above. If one were really writing an annotation for this source, one would offer a brief summary of what this book says about stem cell research.
After a brief summary, it would be appropriate to assess this source and offer some criticisms of it. Does it seem like a reliable and current source? Why? Is the research biased or objective? Are the facts well documented? Who is the author? Is she qualified in this subject? Is this source scholarly, popular, some of both?
The length of your annotation will depend on the assignment or on the purpose of your annotated bibliography. After summarizing and assessing, you can now reflect on this source. How does it fit into your research? Is this a helpful resource? Too scholarly? Not scholarly enough? Too general/specific? Since "stem cell research" is a very broad topic, has this source helped you to narrow your topic?
Senior, K. "Extending the Ethical Boundaries of Stem Cell Research." Trends in Molecular Medicine, vol. 7, 2001, pp. 5-6.
Not all annotations have to be the same length. For example, this source is a very short scholarly article. It may only take a sentence or two to summarize. Even if you are using a book, you should only focus on the sections that relate to your topic.
Not all annotated bibliographies assess and reflect; some merely summarize. That may not be the most helpful for you, but, if this is an assignment, you should always ask your instructor for specific guidelines.
Wallace, Kelly. "Bush Stands Pat on Stem Cell Policy." CNN. 13 Aug. 2001.
Using a variety of sources can help give you a broader picture of what is being said about your topic. You may want to investigate how scholarly sources are treating this topic differently than more popular sources. But again, if your assignment is to only use scholarly sources, then you will probably want to avoid magazines and popular web sites.
The bibliographic information above is proper MLA format (use whatever style is appropriate in your field) and the annotations are in paragraph form. Note also that the entries are alphabetized by the first word in the bibliographic entry. If you are writing an annotated bibliography with many sources, it may be helpful to divide the sources into categories. For example, if putting together an extensive annotated bibliography for stem cell research, it might be best to divide the sources into categories such as ethical concerns, scholarly analyses, and political ramifications.
For more examples, a quick search at a library or even on the Internet should produce several examples of annotated bibliographies in your area.
What is an Annotated Bibliography
Many students wonder what is an annotated bibliography and it is not surprising: this task can become a real headache, especially for those, who don’t have enough time or desire to process multiple sources. Annotated bibliography is a review of various sources. It can be both a part of a bigger project and a stand-alone assignment. Unlike abstracts, annotations contain critical information on the source, it main ideas and quality.
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If you want to learn more of how to write a perfect work, the list of contents may be more than useful. Your annotation should include:
- Bibliographic citation. You should write the full title, its authors and publishing data;
- Information on the author;
- Main idea of the book/article;
- Highlighting of the main argument;
- Data on the target audience;
- Information on the research methods (if any) and the results;
- Highlighting of the useful information, like graphs, calculations and so on;
- Description of the research relevance for your own paper;
- Weak and strong sides of the source;
- Your personal opinion about the text.
If you are using a proper example, it can help you to avoid many mistakes and difficulties, and give a chance to provide a high-quality paper. Try to avoid such mistakes like performing the task as if it was abstract. You should make sure that you analyze the source, not only summarize it. You should also spend time on reading it to give a full overview, as your professor will surely ask additional questions on the subject. Remember that your annotation should be short and straight to the point: it is not a literature review even though they are very alike. And don’t forget to follow the rules of the indicated formatting style. This will help you greatly in avoiding common mistakes.
Annotated bibliography example
While most of the formatting styles are quite alike, there are still some differences, which should be taken into account.
MLA annotated bibliography, as well as Chicago Manual Style Annotation, should provide bibliographic citation in such an order: surname and name of the author, title of the book, name of the publishing house and the year of publishing.
APA style is slightly different: first, you should indicate the surname of the author with his initials, following the year of publishing in brackets. Then you should indicate the title of the book, publishing house and number of pages if needed.
The structure of MLA and APA is quite similar and should summarize and access the source. The second part of the annotation should contain information on its strong and weak sides, as well as author’s opinion if required.
Annotated bibliography template
Using a sample annotated bibliography, every students gets a chance to avoid common mistakes and shape the annotation according to all the rules and requirements. Luckily, there are not many of them and it is quite easy to provide a proper annotation structure. First, you should provide all the details about the source or the citation, like name of the author, title, publishing house and so on. It should be followed by an annotation (a brief summary) and your personal opinion on the subject. You should analyze the source, providing information on its use for your personal project or for the target audience. This section greatly depends on the demands of your professor.
Annotation is usually arranged alphabetically and should be quite brief (around 100-200 words) if your professor doesn’t have other specific requirements. You should also consult your professor what topics you should highlight in the annotation, based on the aim of the assignment.
Annotated bibliography template will be a vivid example and you will be able to create an outstanding annotation without any mistakes and flaws!
Annotated Bibliography Example MLA
Annotated Bibliography Samples
Annotated Bibliography Template
Chicago Style Annotated Bibliography
Examples of Annotated Bibliography
Sample Annotated Bibliography APA
Annotated bibliography topics
It is not difficult to find annotated bibliography topics to write about. Actually, they are limited only to your imagination and indications of your professor. Here are some topics, which may help you decide what to write about:
- Health care reform;
- Acid raining;
- Genetic engineering;
- Animal testing;
- Gun control;
- Human rights;
- Labor rules;
- History of rock-n-roll;
- Nuclear weapons;
- Extreme sports;
By using an annotated bibliography example, you can avoid common mistakes, get additional information on the structure of annotation and find new ideas to write about. It is a great chance for students, who want to write the paper on their own, but don’t know where to start!